Where stars descend – Chapter 7 (Reaching the corners of the Earth) – Part IV


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Click here for Part II

Click here for Part III

The greatest fortune of MTA is that as well as being its supervisor, leader and guide, Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa is one of its viewers. In previous chapters, we have observed how hectic Huzoor’s daily schedule is, but Allah enables Huzoor’s sight to set upon moments in the MTA broadcast that require guidance and direction. This can be proven through countless examples.

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On one occasion, during a nazm, Muslims performing the tawaf (circuit) around the Ka‘bah were shown at a speed which gave the shot a whirlpool effect.

“This is inappropriate. The shot should be edited.”

In this manner, Huzooraa gave us proper direction as regards the Ka‘bah itself and explained that not just the Ka‘bah, but anything that is held sacred should not be shown in a disrespectful manner.

Kabhi nusrat nahi milti dar-e-Maula sey gandon ko [The impure cannot seek succour from the divine threshold]. During the recitation of this verse, the shot selected to be shown is of worshippers offering Salat. This is not correct. It should be altered.”

Once, while I was seated in my office, I received a call from the private secretary. All he said was, “Please hold”, after which a tune began playing as I waited. After a few seconds, I heard Huzoor’s voice. People’s voices are usually somewhat different over the telephone, but every Ahmadi is familiar with the voice of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa. Startled, I immediately stood up. Huzooraa said, “The promo that is being played currently should be played for a few more days, then it should be stopped.”

One becomes astonished at the attention to detail Huzooraa possesses; Huzooraa felt the significance or insignificance of a promo playing for too long a period.

Once, whilst driving, I received a call on my mobile phone. The private secretary said that Huzooraa would speak to me. I stopped the car to one side. If it was possible to stand up in the car, then I would have. Huzooraa enquired about a programme that was to be produced by a foreign studio and when it would be completed by. Then Huzooraa asked why a certain presenter did not have a topi (hat) on.

“The way that the presenter is seated is inappropriate. Have it removed from the playlist immediately and tell them to correct this.”

Huzooraa then asked, “Do you understand?”

I replied that I did, to which Huzooraa added, “I can visualise your expression right now; you haven’t understood. You’re more shocked and confused.” Huzooraa then repeated the instruction.

Exactly how Ghalib once said:

بہرہ ہوں مَیں تو چاہئے دُونا ہو التفات

سنتا نہیں ہوں بات مکرر کہے بغیر

“If I am hard of hearing, I need twice the attention; I do not hear without saying, ‘Pardon’”.

Huzooraa also knew exactly what this servant must be feeling hearing his voice on a telephone call. I did not have the audacity to ask Huzooraa to repeat his instruction, but Huzooraa, understanding my situation, repeated himself. When Huzooraa tours a country, the classes with waqifeen-e-nau and students are a part of Huzoor’s schedule. At times, I receive Huzoor’s instructions whilst he is on the tour, that such and such programme should be broadcast immediately, or another programme can wait as there is no urgency.

Similarly, I received an instruction like this from Huzooraa a few years ago from Germany. When I later travelled to Germany for Jalsa Salana there, Huzooraa saw me in Germany and asked, “Did you receive my message? How many programmes have been aired and how many are yet to be shown?”

Jalsa Salana UK has become a key part of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s calendar and it is also the main event in MTA’s calendar; “high noon” can best describe the significance of the event. Huzoor’s usual daily schedule is crammed within the 24 hours of each day, but during Jalsa Salana, his engagements are magnified even more. The mind boggles as to how an incredible amount of extra workload can be packed into the daily 24-hour schedule of the Jalsa Salana period. In a miraculous fashion, Huzooraa is able to accomplish this work too.

Throughout Jalsa Salana and the days preceding and succeeding the event, the management seeks guidance regularly from Huzooraa, the department of Jalsa Gah seeks approval for its issues, waiting rooms are filled to the brim with Ahmadis eagerly awaiting private and collective audiences with Huzooraa.

In the midst of all this and much more, Huzooraa is able to study for his numerous addresses that are to be given to the worldwide audience. At the same time, Huzooraa gives his attention to MTA which shows his concern for the daily broadcast during the three-day period.

It must be mentioned here that Huzoor’s love and attention are able to instil passion and dedication within us more than our own individual abilities can. Every staff member of MTA is extremely grateful to Huzooraa for this and attests to the fact that without his ample direction and loving guidance, our every task is futile. May Allah enable us to continue to reap the blessings associated with the love and affection Huzooraa shows us.

I should also mention here that it is not as if I have never attempted to be grateful to Huzooraa in person; I have attempted to show my gratitude, but I should also inform you of the details of such an effort. It is rather brief:

“Huzoor, I wanted to express my gratitude…”

Huzooraa immediately said:

اچھا ٹھیک ہے! اب آگے بتاؤ۔۔۔ کیا کہتے ہو؟

“That’s fine! Now move on. What else do you have to ask?”

The readers here can imagine how impolite it would have been for me to persist in expressing my gratitude, despite wanting to fully express myself. Returning to the subject of MTA during Jalsa Salana, readers will be aware that MTA has a special three-day broadcast for the duration of Jalsa UK.

The proceedings of all sessions of Jalsa UK are relayed live throughout the world. For the breaks between sessions, MTA produces a variety of programmes, for which a theme is set so that programmes may be prepared with a particular subject in view.

For this, I usually present some themes in January so that they may be selected and approved by Huzooraa or Huzooraa may himself give a theme. With Huzoor’s approval, work commences in view of the specified theme. When the synopses of programmes to be produced for Jalsa Salana are ready, they are submitted to Huzooraa and he provides guidance and approval.

In the ensuing months, I endeavour to keep Huzooraa informed about the programmes and their progress, while at times, Huzooraa himself enquires, “How is your Jalsa preparation coming along?”

Although I give Huzooraa an update, it is less of a question and more a dose of strength and courage. When I inform my colleagues about this, it boosts within them a new spirit and zeal; our capabilities see new horizons. An increase in our capabilities on such occasions is not really due to our own doing; rather, it is because the work is for the Jamaat and for which Huzoor’s every word proves to be a catalyst.

Then, Huzooraa also provides guidance as regards the participants, interviewees, genre and format of such programmes that is not only guidance for members of our department today, but for the future members of this department. We make the best efforts to ensure that programmes are produced on time so that these programmes can be viewed by Huzooraa. It troubles me if a programme is not seen by Huzooraa. As the majority of the MTA staff is volunteer-based, most of the work is completed closer to the time of Jalsa Salana.

During such days of anxiety and commotion, I always remember, by the grace of God, to write to Huzooraa seeking prayers for all colleagues. Words such as “Allah fazl karey”, “Jazakallah” and “Dua” provide strength to workers like me who are prone to shortcomings. With Allah’s grace, every worker of MTA – no matter how young or old – is able to overlook the margins of night and day and work diligently. A young man will be working through the night on a VT that is to be shown the following day and will be found the next morning asleep in his chair; another will have worked through the night and found ready in the morning for another day of assignments and duties; some will have made three rounds of the entire Jalsa area at night to ensure that equipment is set up in different areas; the father of a young man calls and asks whether his son is in MTA as he has not been seen for the last few nights, and is told that his son is a fantastic young man, who is completely immersed in assignments given to him by his Imamaa.

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Every staff member during the Jalsa days is a practical fulfilment of the verse:

وہ قافلہ سالار جدھر آنکھ اٹھا دے

ہم قافلہ در قافلہ اُس سمت رواں ہیں

“Wherever the leader of this caravan sets his sight, that is the direction each caravan heads forth.”

Eventually, the day of the inauguration of Jalsa duties and inspection of the Jalsa site arrives, which marks the final day for completing programmes. That day, programmes are displayed on computer screens for Huzoor’s viewing. Each and every staff member of MTA awaits the spiritual light that travels throughout Hadeeqatul Mahdi that day and hopes that they too can partake of its spiritual blessings. It is not our right, nor are we worthy of it, but Huzooraa enters the makeshift MTA compound and each and every person eagerly stands to welcome their beloved Imamaa. Some are fortunate to be seen by Huzooraa himself, while some have the good fortune of shaking Huzoor’s hand and others get the chance to converse with Huzooraa, some of whom, in their own expression of passion, ask for Huzoor’s prayers.

Usually, on the day of the inspection, out of his sheer love, Huzooraa watches our programmes or parts of it. Even those who are present on the day of the Jalsa duties’ inauguration are not aware of this, so for those who watch the Jalsa Salana inspection and duties’ inauguration later on MTA, it is something new.

The land of Hadeeqatul Mahdi is vast and spread across many miles. With each year, the size of the Jalsa site seems to be expanding also. On that day, Huzooraa covers many miles on foot, visiting every department and encouraging all workers for the upcoming three-day convention. At times, he will inspect the kitchen and quality of food, after which he will visit other departments, such as scanning, security, transport, accommodation, telecommunication, private tents for accommodation etc.

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Thus, Huzooraa visits every department. Upon observing the eagerness a worker has for Huzooraa to visit his cabin, Huzooraa will climb the stairs to inspect his cabin that will serve as an office throughout Jalsa. After walking many miles, Huzooraa meets all Ahmadis with the same love, attention and affection, regardless of whether they are the first people to meet him that day or the last.

After a similar function, Huzooraa sat on the stage and during the recitation of tilawat and then nazm, I looked towards Huzoor’s shot in the control room and noticed that Huzooraa was pressing on his leg. My heart sank. Afterwards, I mentioned this to Huzooraa and said that other people may have noticed this too. Huzooraa replied:

چلو، سب نے دیکھا ہو گا تو دعا بھی کر دی ہوگی

“That’s alright. If everyone saw, then they must have prayed also.”

We all request prayers from Huzooraa for our parents and children, but may Allah enable us to remember Huzooraa in our prayers too. In this age of technology, people are able to inspect the progress of tasks through live streams and videos. The bigger a leader is, the more advanced the technology that assists them in ensuring that targets are being met.

However, here we have the biggest leader of all, the most occupied and one who has technological facilities at his disposal, yet he opts to personally inspect the Jalsa progress and bless us with his presence. He continues to remain anxious for our wellbeing – whether the attendees will be able to sleep comfortably; that it is not too cold; that the bedding and mattresses are comfortable and suitable for the climate. He remains concerned for the transport of guests; how they will be transported back and forth; if the parking spaces are insufficient, then where else can people park their cars and if another location has been utilised for parking, whether the shuttle service is satisfactory.

These are all but administrative aspects of Jalsa Salana; the main concern remains that after all this is settled, will the attendees be able to spiritually benefit from the blessings associated with Jalsa Salana?

May Allah the Almighty bless our beloved Imamaa with a long and healthy life and enable every member of this Jamaat to remember this great leader in their prayers.

Now, let us return to the MTA compound. Huzooraa arrives here and inspects the efforts of every MTA worker; he inspects the satellite facilities, says words of encouragement for everyone and the precious moments come to a close, much like a dream. The story that follows this is also interesting. MTA staff members will have been working day and night to make the Jalsa documentaries and programmes a possibility. Our deadline is set as the day of inspection and inauguration of duties.

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If the preparations are not complete by that day, how is it possible for us to stand there emptyhanded and explain to Huzooraa that the programmes still need to be completed.

Therefore, all staff members await their beloved Imamaa that day, having completed all their assignments. But the energy level of each worker on that day is as though they had just woken up, fresh and ready for a new day and having relaxed for many days. It is my deep faith that Huzoor’s attention and love on the day of the inauguration of duties establishes a new fervour within all workers.

Without Huzoor’s attention, the strenuous task of broadcasting programmes throughout the three days becomes impossible. We are invigorated by that person, who has been taught by Allah to never tire. Just a single glance in our direction is sufficient to reignite the passion and dedication for the Jamaat within us.

All readers, no matter where in the world they may reside, should know that we are insignificant. Those who watch the proceedings of Jalsa Salana on their screens is a result of Huzoor’s spiritual strength, otherwise presenting this to you would be impossible.

May Allah enable us to never forget our beloved leader in our prayers.

On one occasion, Huzooraa had just concluded the closing session of Jalsa Salana UK and returned to his office in Hadeeqatul Mahdi. I had the good fortune to see Huzooraa in person regarding a certain matter. As soon as I entered, Huzooraa enquired, “A programme was just playing on MTA; where did you obtain the footage that was being played in it?” Before I was able to reply, Huzooraa said, “Right! I remember” and added that it was from a certain occasion.

This was astonishing for me. The video was in fact very rare and had not been broadcast before that, but not only had Huzooraa seen it live and enquired about it, but recalled where the video was from. Huzooraa had seen the video for the first time also.

Similarly, I was able to see Huzooraa after he had delivered an address on another occasion. With reference to a subject that was under discussion, Huzooraa said, “I started writing today’s speech yesterday evening and completed it after Zuhr today.” This also was astonishing for me. Before that, I was always under the impression that Huzooraa prepared his addresses weeks in advance. I could never have imagined that Huzooraa prepared his addresses in such hectic periods in such a manner.

As I mentioned previously, I always aim to show the Jalsa programmes to Huzooraa before Jalsa, otherwise I feel anxious about them. Yet, there are many programmes that are finalised close to the Jalsa days. A week prior to Jalsa Salana one year, the recordings for some programmes were sent to Huzooraa. I received the reply:

اب مصروفیت۔ خود ہی دیکھ لیں۔

“Now, [I am] occupied. Please check it yourself.”

Although I had already reviewed the programmes, in following Huzoor’s instruction, I went through them once more. Still, I remained anxious. Jalsa Salana passed. When those programmes were to be broadcast, I felt uneasy and prayed as they had not been seen by Huzooraa. After the Jalsa, I took the recordings to Huzooraa. I eagerly desired for Huzooraa to see those programmes himself. Huzooraa said that he had seen some of the programmes and that I should leave behind those that he had not seen. Then Huzooraa confirmed by asking whether a certain programme was the one in which so and so said something specific. Although I am unable to, but to this day, I wish to ask Huzooraa how, in the midst of all his engagements and hectic schedule, he was able to closely watch those programmes.

Like I said, I am not able to ask Huzooraa, but I invite the readers to share this astonishment with me. Whoever Allah chooses, that person’s every second, every endeavour, every word and every action is blessed. O Allah, bless our Imam’saa health and long life in every respect, for everything we have today is a result of the blessings attached with him. May Allah strengthen his hand. Amin

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