Where stars descend – Chapter 6 (Nurturing the future) – Part I

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Asif M Basit

I consider it my good fortune that after many of Huzoor’saa tours, I have got to view recorded footage of the tour before anyone. Some of the footage would already have been aired live on MTA, but most of the footage is broadcast after Huzoor’s return to London.

Among those programmes, the classes with Waqifeen-e-Nau and university students is what I look forward to seeing the most.

Thus, the classes are what we view before any other programme. The readers will agree with me that classes with Huzooraa are indeed captivating and enlightening. No matter where in the world, the classes have now adopted a typical format. They start with tilawat, followed by nazm, speeches and presentations by students. Following that is what all keen viewers await; Huzoor’s interaction with the students.

This part of the class is as beneficial to those who are present as it is for the viewers, regardless of age, race or worldly position. The questions asked are always followed by informative answers. There are always sublime and inspirational points that the viewers can take away from them. It is in these very classes where a young child’s question may seem very ordinary, but the answer that is given becomes a means of taking fiqh-e-Ahmadiyya (the Ahmadiyya jurisprudence) through a course of evolution and making it reach entirely new heights. Huzooraa guides his Jamaat on many contemporary issues.

For instance, the question was once asked, “If a restaurant cooks and sells pork with their meals, for example on pizzas or burgers, then can Ahmadi Muslims work in such a place?” Huzooraa answered by saying that if they had to personally deal with pork, then they could not.

In reference to that answer, in a later class, a child required clarification because many Ahmadis worked in such superstores that sold alcohol and pork. Thus, Huzooraa replied that if such people did not take part in cooking or preparing the foods, but only worked as cashiers and had indirect interaction with the unlawful goods, like placing the money of customers into the cash registers, then it was fine.

Similarly, I have seen in those classes how puzzling subjects, such as buying houses on mortgage, have been solved. The students of those classes have asked questions covering clothing, purdah, mixed schooling, love marriages, the ways to balance worldly and religious life and so many other issues relating to the modern Western world (which is now dominant in not just the West but the entire world) and Huzooraa has always provided ample guidance, and continues to do so.

Many a time, the question would arise in my mind as to how Huzooraa had the answers to all such complicated matters. But later, I would realise that the Ahmadi youth around the world write to Huzooraa concerning their every concern and present all their worries before him. Thousands of people write about it in their letters, whilst thousands of people pour their heart out in person. The worries and concerns of Ahmadis around the world are of all sorts. There are those who have not yet found satisfaction in the worship of Allah, while some have doubts regarding the existence of God.

A person may have fallen in love with another person who is not an Ahmadi but desires to marry them, whereas some are stuck in the dilemma of choosing the correct path of education. There are some who do not understand the wisdom of purdah, whereas others face difficulties in practicing purdah. There are those whose parents may not be happy with them, while there are others who are not physically well and their health is deteriorating day by day. There are some who desire to migrate to a foreign country and there are even those who have been married for months, but despite that, they are still not worthy of considering themselves “married”.

After presenting their issues, all such people ask the same question: “What should I do?” But the answer to this question is always different in each circumstance. Regardless of where they are from, East or West, people flock in their thousands to seek guidance from Huzooraa in their personal affairs and Huzooraa continues to bestow his beautiful Jamaat with ample direction and guidance. Hence, the issues relating to the current climate are always before Huzoor’saa eyes.

However, just because Huzooraa continuously guides people in contemporary issues does not mean Huzooraa always provides immediate answers.

At times, due to the nature of the question, Huzooraa instructs for research to be conducted. Huzooraa sometimes instructs the questioners themselves to refer to a specific department or to contact the Research Cell in Rabwah or other such departments.

Once, a teenager asked a question relating to Prophet Jesus’as journey to Kashmir. Some would have thought that the answer to the question would be quite simple and straightforward. However, the answer Huzooraa gave was not exclusively for that teenager because Huzoor’s answers are always a means of educating MTA viewers. Allah alone is aware of the wisdom, but that day, Huzooraa explained everything in detail.

After answering the question, Huzooraa looked in my direction and said, “Towards the left of my desk in my office is a pile of papers. In that pile, there is some material relating to this topic. Bring that to me.”

I immediately made a move, when Huzooraa repeated, “Do you understand? On the left-hand side … among some papers … in a folder.”

Huzooraa desired that the answer should be given in that very class without wasting any time. That was why Huzooraa confirmed whether I had understood. I immediately went and conveyed Huzoor’s message to the Private Secretary. He quickly got up and began the search for the material. When he found it, I returned to the class – with the material in hand – and presented it to Huzooraa.

Huzooraa removed his glasses from his pocket, put them on and started to explain what was written. What Huzooraa had read out was exactly what he had already said, but because there was research material readily available, Huzooraa cited the references to the teenager also.

On one occasion, a youth asked the question, “Hazrat Sufi Ahmad Jan Sahib accepted the truth of the Promised Messiahas well before his claim of being appointed by God, so much so that he expressed his desire to perform Bai‘at [pledge of obedience] at his hand. However, we know that he passed away before the Promised Messiah’sas claim and the first Bai‘at. Can he be referred to as a sahabi [companion] or not?” Huzooraa explained that due to his piety, taqwa and accepting the truth of the Promised Messiahas, his status was very high; however, he would not come under the category of sahabi and so, he could not be referred to as a sahabi.

Thereafter, Huzooraa immediately instructed me to enquire from some scholars in Rabwah as to what they thought. Accordingly, I conveyed Huzoor’s message to those scholars. They replied that he was not a sahabi and that the Promised Messiahas had not included his name among the 313 Companions. Huzooraa repeated this in a later class and said that after thorough research, Hazrat Sufi Ahmad Jan Sahib would not be considered a sahabi in the proper sense of the term.

It is astonishing that despite Huzoor’s decision undoubtedly being the final word, Huzooraa instructed for research to be conducted on the matter and to present a conclusive verdict. What I understood from this was that the first and foremost item on Huzoor’s mind is the Holy Quran and its teachings. After all, Huzooraa is most aware of the blessings contained in the Holy Quran.

Thus, wherever he can, Huzooraa practices the Quranic injunction of mushawarat (mutual consultation) so that we too may become habitual in practicing it. Secondly, it is Huzoor’s ardent desire for the youth to develop a keen interest in research fields, so that the very soldiers of Ahmadiyyat can equip themselves with the artillery of knowledge and thus, strengthen their perceptiveness.

Thus does Huzooraa cater for the intellectual and moral well-being of the youth seated before him. Where Huzooraa inculcates the habit of making thoughtful decisions as opposed to abrupt conclusions, Huzooraa also teaches the youth how to process their minds quick enough to make a careful yet swift decision.

Jamia Ahmadiyya UK was founded in 2005. That very year, it was proposed to Huzooraa whether Jamia students should be included in the Waqf-e-Nau classes because most of the Jamia UK students consisted of Waqifeen-e-Nau. Huzooraa instructed that there should be a separate class for them. Thus, Jamia Ahmadiyya UK’s class began. As every class had its own unique name, this class too was called, “Class, Jamia Ahmadiyya UK.” The class commenced with this name.

One day, during a Jamia Ahmadiyya UK class, Huzooraa said, “They sit in classes from morning till evening every day and yet, you’ve named this a ‘class’ as well. It should be called something else.” We were anticipating that Huzooraa would give a name. Instead, Huzooraa instructed, “Think of a name.” With that, a student began his presentation. When he finished, Huzooraa asked, “Have you thought of anything?” I replied that I had not and so, another presentation began.

When that presentation finished, Huzooraa enquired, “What have you thought?”, to which I replied, “Eik nashist” (a sitting). Huzooraa heard it and said, “Good. Now go and change the name to ‘Tulaba Jamia ke sath eik nashist’”

The name of every class was visible on a television screen placed at the side of the Mahmood Hall. In accordance with Huzoor’s instruction, I immediately went to the control-room and changed the name of the class to what Huzooraa had instructed. Thereafter, a new graphics slide was created on MTA for Tulaba Jamia ke sath eik nashist to introduce the programme.

Jamia Ahmadiyya UK have a sitting with Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa in the former Jamia campus

One lesson we learnt from this was that we should have sought Huzoor’s guidance before naming the class. It was incorrect for us to name it according to the names of the other classes. Another lesson we learnt, as did the Jamia students, was that we should try to work as quickly as possible. In any case, that single programme was fortunate of having two names in one sitting.

The classes, referred to above, began in October 2003. The first class that was held was called Bustan-e-Waqf-e-Nau, in which children aged 12 years or younger sat. Then, after a few weeks, a separate class began for older Waqifeen. That class was called Gulshan-e-Waqf-e-Nau and was separated between Nasirat and Atfal.

Soon after, classes including Lajna and Khuddam were conducted by this very name. Very early on, we were oblivious (in fact, “ignorant” would perfectly sum it up) of the fact that copies of the Holy Quran, Durr-e-Sameen and other books for reference purposes should be placed on the table in front of Huzooraa.

On one occasion, when Huzooraa needed to confirm something from a book and it was not available, I understood from then on that they should be placed on the table in front of Huzooraa to avoid any wastage of time. However, we would realise later that we still had not thought things through. The copy of the Holy Quran that was readily available to us was placed on the table.

In those days, during a mulaqat, Huzooraa said, “Have you noticed that after the recitation of the Holy Quran at Jalsa Salanas and national ijtemas, I arrange for the translation by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra to be read out and at other times, the translation by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh?” I replied, “Yes, Huzoor.” Huzooraa then said, “The translations are all pretty similar, but there are certain interpretations that can be understood better by some, whereas the others can understand it better by other interpretations.”

Huzooraa continued, “I have always, since my schooling days, been able to grasp the meaning from Tafsir-e-Saghir a lot better.” Then, Huzooraa instructed, “When you place the books in front of me during classes or other MTA programmes, ensure that Tafsir-e-Saghir is also present.”

Thus, in the following class, I ensured that the latest copy of Tafsir-e-Saghir was placed on Huzoor’s table.

After a while, during a mulaqat, Huzooraa needed to refer to the Holy Quran and confirm something. Huzooraa opened his personal copy of Tafsir-e-Saghir and began flicking through the pages. While doing so, Huzooraa told me, “I prefer this old edition. It is much easier to refer to the index in this and I have become more accustomed to it. The books that you place on the table should include this older edition.”

With Huzoor’s instruction, I began my search for that specific edition of Tafsir-e-Saghir. But I was not able to find it. There was a copy in the private secretary’s office, but obviously, that could not be taken as it was most probably there for Huzoor’s use. Eventually, I managed to find the edition that Huzooraa was accustomed to in a certain office.

Fortunately, I was able to persuade the person who had possessed that copy to exchange it for the new edition that I had. I have observed numerous times during mulaqats that Huzooraa always manages to find passages of the Quran very quickly, either by flicking through the names of chapters or by consulting his preferred copy’s index.

Judging by the looks of it, Huzooraa seems to have been using the same copy of the Quran for a very long time. There are also flags in various colours. The same is the case with the books of the Promised Messiahas. Huzooraa possesses an entire set of Ruhani Khazain, which is placed to one side, as well as copies of the Holy Quran, Tafsir-e-Saghir and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV’srh translation of the Quran.

Huzooraa is well-aware of the exact location of each and every book surrounding him. This, too, I have witnessed on numerous occasions.

Once, when talking about the Jamaat’s services for the Kashmir issue, Huzooraa turned towards his right and said, “Look over there. Do you see that set of books? Go and take those with you. But I want them back!” Joyfully, I took them with me and benefitted a great deal from them. Then, for the sake of blessings, I placed them among the books in my office library.

After a whole year had passed, one day, Huzooraa visited our offices. When Huzooraa entered my office, he peered up at the bookshelves and asked a few questions regarding certain books. Unexpectedly, Huzooraa asked, “You still have my books; where are they?” I pointed towards them and said that they were there. Huzooraa replied, “I still want them back!”

Following that, when a Jamia student was assigned a research thesis on the Jamaat’s services to the issue of Kashmir, Huzooraa assigned me the task of supervising him. With Huzoor’s permission, that student also benefitted from Huzoor’s personal set of books.

Only recently, I personally delivered those books back to Huzooraa and expressed my gratitude. Huzooraa said, “So you finally remembered? Go and put them over there” and pointed towards the same shelf from where I had removed them many years ago.

One day, I sought guidance from Huzooraa regarding some research. I said:

“Huzoor, at one place in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, the Promised Messiahas has mentioned a پادری ھیکر [pronounced: Padri haiker]. I have searched a lot, but have not found any priest by this name. I searched for his name in relation to the conference which the Promised Messiahas mentioned him with, bearing in mind the time and location of that conference, and thus found a Rev Hector who was around during that time and spoke at the conference. In fact, he spoke on the same lines of what the Promised Messiahas had said he spoke about.”

I was about to present some documents to Huzooraa, when he instructed, “Go and open that cupboard.” The cupboard had no glass through which the contents of it could be seen. Huzooraa added, “The first edition of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya is in it. First, have a look in that”, meaning that we should always consult the editions that were initially published during the time of the Promised Messiahas.

Thus, I picked out the first edition of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya and opened the page where the aforementioned priest was cited. There, he was also referred to as “Heiker”. Huzooraa said, “Now show me what you have found?” I presented my research to Huzooraa. Huzooraa instructed that I write to Nazarat-e-Ishaat in Rabwah, Additional Wakalat-e-Tasnif and the Research Cell to make corrections to what seemed to be a mistake on the part of the publishers.

Similarly, at another instance, when talking of a certain religious group’s behaviour in a particular country, Huzooraa said, “A book has been written on them. I read it when I was in college. I may still have it with me.” With that, Huzooraa started looking in the direction of a bookshelf. Huzooraa instructed, “Go and look over there. If I have it, it will be there.” I began my search when I immediately found it. Huzooraa then said, “Take it with you. When you have read it, bring it back to me.”

I took that book with me and read it very quickly. I had not yet finished when I received a call from Abid Waheed Khan Sahib saying that Huzooraa had mentioned the book and said that I had it. Huzooraa added that if I had read it, then I should give it to him also. Not only is Huzooraa familiar with the context of each of his books and where they are located in his office, he is also aware of who possesses which of his books at any given time.

Once, during our Rah-e-Huda programme, a question was asked relating to John the Baptist (Hazrat Yahyaas) and the prophets that were killed. The answer presented on the programme was listened to by Huzooraa also, but Huzooraa was not satisfied with the programme.

During a mulaqat, Huzooraa told me, “An extensive research on this topic was carried out a few years ago by an individual. I will give you the material from that research.”

Thereafter, Huzooraa started searching for the material in files that were placed on his desk. When Huzooraa could not find it there, he got up and started looking in some shelves and instructed that I looked in the other shelves. The search lasted for quite some time. Throughout, I was in a confused state of mind. At times, I would become ecstatic at my good fortune that Huzooraa very lovingly and attentively attempted to solve the issue, while on the other hand, I would feel regret that Huzooraa was painstakingly searching for something for my sake.

However, that day, I managed to see inside all of Huzoor’s cabinets and shelves alongside Huzooraa. The cabinets were filled with books and papers, yet every file, book and paper were placed in a pristine order. But it was not as though they had never been touched. The colour of the folder, which contained the aforementioned research, was also in Huzoor’s mind.

Whenever Huzooraa had previously instructed me to get a folder from a shelf, Huzooraa would tell me, “No, it won’t be that folder. The folder you are looking for is in another colour and a different style.” When all shelves had been searched, Huzooraa said, “It is probably in my library upstairs.”

The search for the research material and the mulaqat eventually came to an end. I returned to my office in Baitul Futuh, Morden. It was now lunchtime, so I made my way to have lunch. Thereafter, I fulfilled my desire for a cup of tea, after which I did some work and probably wasted some time also. It was then that I received a phone call from the private secretary, who said, “Huzooraa has given me a folder to give to you. Please come and take it.”

May Allah reward my benevolent master! I had left Huzoor’s office and returned to Baitul Futuh, but throughout that time, Huzooraa took it upon himself to search for that folder. The importance of a single remark made on MTA International, no matter how small or big, was explained to me by Huzooraa; when something is said on our behalf, it should be conveyed accurately. I should also mention here that we have been given ample guidance regarding the sensitivity of programmes on MTA International by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa.

If the person divinely appointed for the guidance of humanity in this day can spend so much time and effort in correcting an answer that was given to a question on an MTA programme, then we as humble servants should never sit calmly! We should lose sleep over such matters! This was but one aspect of Huzoor’s efforts in making knowledge, and correct knowledge, widespread among people. Huzooraa, through his own example, constantly gives us the lesson that if he can pay so much attention to detail in factual information, then the people belonging to his Jamaat, whose responsibility it is to propagate religion, disseminate the truth and dispel falsehood, should spend their days and nights in seeking knowledge.

Initially, when classes with Huzooraa had started, someone asked Huzooraa as to why “Nawab” was added to the name of Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begum Sahibara, daughter of the Promised Messiahas. After providing a lengthy explanation, Huzooraa said, “Before their births, the Promised Messiahas was revealed by Allah the names of his daughters, along with the name, ‘Nawab’.”

A few days later, during a mulaqat, Huzooraa enquired, “During the previous class, did I say that the name ‘Nawab’ was revealed by Allah regarding both daughters?” I replied in the affirmative, to which Huzooraa said, “It was only concerning Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begum Sahibara that the Promised Messiahas was divinely shown the name ‘Nawab’. Hazrat Nawab Amatul Hafeez Begum Sahibara got the additional name ‘Nawab’ after her marriage to Hazrat Nawab Abdullah Khan Sahibra.”

Thereafter, Huzooraa instructed that any factual errors concerning matters to do with history should immediately be rectified and gave instructions on how to do this. Such occasions may seem like classes with children to the untrained eye, yet Huzoor’s care for detail remains precise as ever. Huzooraa gave a great lesson, that nothing that has been said on the Jamaat’s platform should be considered as a passing remark.

In the following class, Huzooraa explained to the children the reality of the matter and that he had accidentally said that the name “Nawab” was revealed to the Promised Messiahas concerning his daughter Hazrat Nawab Amatul Hafeez Begum Sahibara. Had it been anybody else, they would not have given a second thought on something that had been said to children. Even if they did give it a second thought, they would have shunned it for being said in front of mere children. And if someone had drawn their attention to it, they would have brushed it off by saying, “So what! They’re only kids!” But what we learn from this ocean of knowledge and wisdom is not to ignore such matters, but to care about even the minutest of details.

It was a lesson for the staff of MTA International also, that everything said on MTA is relayed to the whole world. Thus, whatever is said should be accurate and crisp. No matter who the questioner is and no matter what the question, Huzooraa never considers any question insignificant or a waste of time. No matter what, the answer is always given satisfactorily.

During such classes, Huzooraa is also guiding the organisers. Right before the class, a copy of the programme is placed on Huzoor’s table, mentioning the names of those who will recite tilawat and nazm and who will deliver presentations. Sometimes, I have felt that even if the smallest of typos are made, they are brought to the attention of Huzooraa by a supernatural power. They may as well be highlighted before Huzooraa, because Huzooraa always points out such mistakes and instructs for them to be corrected.

When Huzooraa returns from abroad after a successful tour, the classes of that tour are viewed and they go through the scheduling process. Regarding one class, I had a question, which I felt needed to be brought to Huzoor’s attention. Thus, I presented the matter to Huzooraa during a mulaqat. I said:

“Huzoor, from beginning to end, the administration of the class was constantly reprimanded. The administration had done everything incorrectly and everything had to be explained to them by Huzoor, wherein they were severely reprimanded. Whatever Huzoor deems befitting, shall be done.”

Huzooraa instructed:

“If you are asking me whether it should be played or not, then it most certainly should! It should be played in its original form.”

In our ignorance, we seem to forget that during such classes, the addressees are not just the children sitting before Huzooraa; rather, it is a “class” for the entire world. The millions of Ahmadis tuning in throughout the world are the addressees of Huzooraa during those moments and everything Huzooraa says must be obeyed to the letter. Although there are many who are able to explain the status of Khilafat and inculcate among the younger generations reverence and respect for Khilafat, there is no one who is aware of the status of Khilafat more than Hazrat Khalifatul Masih.

There is no one who can better inculcate a level of reverence for Khilafat than Huzooraa. How can it be that Huzooraa, out of his precious time, takes out not minutes, but an entire hour to sit among the youth of the Jamaat while the administration does not place a programme before Huzooraa, nor do the participants know of their duties or when they are supposed to take to the mic? How can it be that we do not check arrangements beforehand and instead, allow for the microphone to be inoperable in Huzoor’s presence and not know how to get the microphone across to other children?

The lesson was not for the administration of that specific class, but by having it played on MTA International, it was a lesson for all class organisers around the world. Thus, Huzooraa instructed that the class would be broadcast as it was.

When in London, the classes took place in the Mahmood Hall, adjacent to the Fazl Mosque. Initially, the students of Jamia Ahmadiyya would arrive in the Mahmood Hall in order to sit in the blessed presence of Huzooraa, but Huzooraa then started to travel to Jamia and blessed them with his presence in their abode. At such occasions, the students of Jamia consider themselves the luckiest of all as the spiritual prince blesses them with his presence.

The first building of Jamia Ahmadiyya UK was a 15-minute drive away from the Fazl Mosque. It is God’s grace upon the Jamaat that any land the Jamaat occupies is very quickly proven small. So too was the case with Jamia’s first building. The new building of Jamia is situated at under a 20-minute drive from Islamabad and its majestic building stands in a scenic area. Initially, Jamia was at a 45-minute drive from Huzoor’s former residence at the Fazl Mosque, and Huzooraa would make this long journey on various occasions.

If I am not mistaken, it was in the winter of 2013 when their sitting with Huzooraa was scheduled. On that day, the snow showed no signs of cessation. The weather forecasts had given warnings and said that people should try to stay indoors and avoid travelling. It was in this scenario that a message was conveyed from the Fazl Mosque to Jamia Ahmadiyya that Huzooraa would indeed be travelling to Jamia that day and the sitting would commence.

That day, the staff and students of Jamia worked hard to clear the snow in order to make way for Huzoor’s entourage. The hardest part of that was the long road that travels up the hill and leads to the beautiful building of Jamia. It became impossible to melt the snow with grit. Afterwards, I was told by a friend that although the necessary paraphernalia was not readily at hand, a large metal slab was attached to the back of a car with two students standing on either side to support it and the car was driven along the road leading up to Jamia.

Having cleared the track, the snow would fall and settle back on the track, but the staff and students of Jamia, out of their love for Huzooraa, repeatedly cleared the track in that manner until the time came for Huzoor’s arrival. Huzoor’s entourage managed to safely climb the steep road to Jamia and the sitting with Jamia’s students commenced. Huzooraa told them that no one should get anxious over small, trivial challenges. “Whatever needs to be done, should be done!”

Thereafter, the programme commenced and the students, on a cold winter’s day, sat in the spiritual warmth of Huzoor’s company. Huzooraa had given a principle of life, to not be afraid of confronting small challenges.

Click here for Part II

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