His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Vaba, is the Supreme Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiah and Reformer, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian, India. He was born on September 15, 1950 in Rabwah, Pakistan. At home, religion was always given precedence.
He was brought up in a very spiritual environment where the focus was on the five daily prayers, regular reading of the Holy Qur’an and other Islamic teachings. From an early age he received training volunteering for the youth auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Community and held several key roles, which led him to develop astute administrative and leadership skills. In 1977, at the age of 27, His Holiness formally dedicated his life to the service of Islam after completing his Master’s in Agricultural Economics from Faisalabad University, Pakistan.
It was then, in the prime of his youth when he had his entire life ahead of him, he decided to dedicate every single moment to his faith. His Holiness was sent by Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmadrh, Khalifatul Masih IIIra, Third worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to Ghana, under the Nusrat Jehan Scheme, the same year he finished his education. In Islam there are two overriding teachings that encompass all others; one is serving God, and the other is serving God’s creation. It was on the basis of the abovementioned overarching principals that the Nusrat Jehan Scheme was established. The Nusrat Jehan Scheme is an ongoing Ahmadiyya Muslim Community program, which focuses on social, economic and educational development in West Africa and has established hundreds of hospitals and schools.
In Ghana, His Holiness founded the Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Salaga, where he served two years as the headmaster. Based on his success there, he was appointed headmaster of the Ahmadiyya Secondary School at Essarkyir for the next four years. His research on wheat plantation and irrigation led to a successful experiment of growing wheat in Ghana for the first time in its history.
He had a keen interest in agriculture from childhood and would often go with his father to his farm and help there.
Upon his return to Pakistan in 1985, he served in various capacities in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community offices of finance, education, beautification and jurisprudence etc. in Rabwah.
In 1999, His Holiness was imprisoned for a short period of time on the completely false charge of erasing words of the Holy Qur’an from a sign. Pakistan’s constitution and penal code prohibits Ahmadi Muslims from practising Islam. Even a slight association with the faith is grounds for fines, imprisonment or capital punishment. Ahmadi Muslims are subjected to persecution in many Muslim majority countries. Hundreds have been murdered at the hands of extremists and the prejudiced, yet His Holiness forbids his community to show any violence
On April 22, 2003, he was elected to the lifelong position of Khalifah (Caliph) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community after the demise of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh, the Fourth Khalifah. In that capacity, His Holiness serves as the Worldwide Spiritual and Administrative Head of an international religious organisation with tens of millions of members spread across more than 200 countries.
His Holiness has expounded upon issues like faith in a living God, service of humanity, universal human rights, justice and equality through sermons, speeches, books and interviews. ‘Mankind today is far-removed from and negligent of the remembrance of God in the true sense,’ His Holiness said in an address at the Annual Convention in Germany on June 26, 2010. While there are some who deny the existence of God, others consider religion at the core of restlessness in the world, but that is because religions are often misinterpreted by scholars, he said. He urges people of all faiths to find common ground in the existence of God and asks they bring together their shared values to create an atmosphere of love and affection.
‘To win the pleasure of the Creator, live as one by removing all religious difference and putting human values foremost,’ His Holiness said in his speech.
Under his directives, Ahmadi Muslims have hosted a number of interfaith gatherings, peace symposia and exhibitions of the Qur’an, around the globe.
‘Some people may think what I am saying is rather idealistic and impossible to practically achieve,’ he said in his keynote address at the Conference of World Religions, hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK on February 11, 2014 in London.
‘Yet, when we look at the long history of religions we come to realise that such a compassionate and caring society is exactly what God desires,’ he said.
As a humanitarian, His Holiness takes interest in alleviating the problems in developing countries. His efforts include helping improve agricultural development, facilitating for food, clean water and electricity, and building schools and hospitals in developing nations. He guides organisations like Humanity First, an international charitable trust established to promote and safeguard the preservation of human life and dignity, and development groups like the International Association of Ahmadi Architects and Engineers (IAAAE) who oversee development projects in remote parts of the world.
He currently resides in London, England.