We continue our newly launched series of ‘untold stories’ from around the world.
When the Ebola virus disease broke out in West Africa, the National President & Missionary In-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Liberia, wrote a letter to the Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, informing him of the outbreak and requesting his prayers. The last sentence of that letter read: “Beloved Huzuraba [His Holiness], please pray for us [i.e. the Liberia branch of the Community], that may Allah the Almighty treat us in the same manner as He treated the Community a hundred years ago during the plague outbreak.” Allah the Almighty, by His sheer Grace and Mercy, accepted the prayers of the Khalifah of our time and protected each and every Ahmadi Muslim in Liberia from this deadly disease. We bore witness to the sign of the acceptance of prayers of the Khalifah and the blessings of being in this beautiful Community of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias. We received the blessings of obedience to our Khalifah (as by taking the medicine prescribed by His Holinessaba, each one of us remained safe from this disease). We witnessed, once again, the fulfillment of the prophecy revealed to the Promised Messiahas, “I will protect whosoever is in your household [i.e. spiritual community].”
Community , Liberia.
A Mexican Tale
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful
“We Will Surely Guide Them in Our Ways”
This is a story I narrated briefly when I was asked to introduce a dear friend, who had embraced Islam at the age of 31 years, after almost three months of investigation and visits to our mosque/mission house in Merida, Mexico. It was, as I had also said on that occasion, an amazing reflection of the sincerity of this person’s desire to serve God and an affirmation of the truth of a very profound verse of the Holy Qur’an. When he was a much younger man, my friend had wanted to serve God and as a Catholic, he had taken the oath of celibacy, poverty and obedience; however, when he arrived and began his spiritual journey, he was shocked to learn of the goings on within the supposedly sacred walls of the institution. When those in authority learned of his having witnessed such sinful activities, they made it impossible for him to continue with his spiritual journey. So he left, disillusioned and distraught. His life took a turn in the worst possible direction, which adversely affected his physical and mental state.
However, his desire to seek out and serve God was sincere. Many years later, in November 2014, Imam Noman Rana and I arrived in his hometown of Merida, Mexico and started distributing flyers. Our radio advertisements began to play on the local stations and the news spread of our message of, ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’ He started to communicate with us through Whatsapp and each day we would discuss and answer his questions. The questions were very simple and straightforward: “Who are you?”, “What do you believe in?”, “Why are you here?” and so on. Many days passed and no meeting had taken place between us nor had it been discussed. Unknown to us, he used to pass by our mosque and mission house a number of times daily and had observed us praying, talking with people on the phone and meeting them in the mosque. One night, after two or three weeks, he arrived at the mosque and we welcomed him inside. Discussions continued, which were less about any skepticism and more a case of someone wanting to tell us his story. He began to frequent the mosque more and more. Eventually, the stage came that not a day would pass by without him visiting us and sharing time with us, and having a coffee and sometimes even a meal with us. During these months, from November to January, slowly but surely, others began to embrace the message of Islam-Ahmadiyyat (the revival of the true Islam) and eventually he also joined. The impact of this decision of his was immense; it immediately drew my attention to the verse of the Holy Qur’an where Allah guarantees to man, that if someone looks for Him sincerely, He will lead such a person to Himself: “And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And verily Allah is with those who do good.” When I asked him recently what was it that made him accept the message of Islam-Ahmadiyyat, he said something strange:
“At first,” he told me, “I had asked you if you were those who believed in the Prophet Muhammadsa because the thing that had drawn my attention was the word ‘Ahmadiyya’ in the name of your Community and I had wondered if there was something different about the Islam you preached. Then, when I got closer and closer to you it was such a wonderful feeling of being accepted and respected and treated as if I was a part of you, even though you all knew that I was a Catholic. I was very impressed with your appreciation and your repeatedly telling me how kind and gentle you believed me to be. In the end, I realised that I was already a member and all that was left for me to do was to sign and acknowledge this and so I did. I so very much appreciate all that I am learning and I know this will go on but I want to tell you that it has not been easy. You can never appreciate and realise in fact how difficult it has been. How it is hard for my family and my mother to understand what I feel and where I find myself but I am grateful to God that you came and had you not come, I would surely never have gotten to see the real Islam in operation. I knew things about Islam but I did not have the profound understanding that I am acquiring. I had discussed how it would be difficult for me to leave the many customs and rites and rituals, but I now find all those things to be trivial and in fact, this holy week, because of the holidays, I was blessed to be able to finally come to the Friday prayers and a while back when there was some other big event, I did not even realise that I was missing it and was instead at the mosque. So these things that I thought were going to be difficult are, it seems, not so difficult. Some time ago when the Imam told me about the fact that in Islam there is no room for such a thing, I understood him, but I could not resist teasing him by saying that this was not in the contract I had signed!”
As of April 11th, nearly 40 people have accepted Islam-Ahmadiyyat (the revival movement of the true Islam) in just a matter of months. Our weekly classes/open house about Islam and our free weekly introductory Arabic language class has had record numbers of attendees, with full halls and at times almost 50 participants.
Waseem A. Sayed PhD
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Ankabut, Verse 70.