I Used to be an Atheist
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful
This is a brief account of how the world was completely transformed for a friend of mine here in Mérida, Mexico, when he embraced the message of Islam-Ahmadiyyat. From November 2014, at the outset of our Community activities in Mérida, we have focussed almost everything on our ‘Coffee, Cake and Islam’ classes. This was a weekly class where Imam Rana and I invited people to attend as well as share coffee and cake while having the opportunity to ask any questions regarding Islam. One gentleman simply walked into one of our early classes and, after listening to a presentation, began talking about his experiences in depth. He began telling me that he had never really believed in God and would often get involved in arguments with his teachers and others on the topic.
He explained that as he began to argue his case and reflect on it, slowly but surely, something strange started to happen. He became convinced of the existence of God. At first this was a gradual process, but the conviction became more and more entrenched in his mind and heart. Then, shortly before coming to our mosque in the historic district of Mérida, he came across us (the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) on the internet and decided to come and attend the meeting. He told me that he had been reading our material. He showed immense interest in the concept of God we presented and the universal message of Islam, especially our belief that God Who provides light, heat and so many more physical resources for all of mankind, could not have left the rest of humanity without spiritual guidance. He could not have chosen a single people to be the beneficiaries of His revelation and guidance. Because of this gentleman’s detailed and profound interest and because he was so desirous to have a copy of the Holy Qur’an, we gave him one as well as a copy of The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam in Spanish. He first came to one of our meetings on 27th November 2014, and thereafter became a regular participant in many of our activities. After many in-depth discussions, this man, now a friend, signed the Bai’at (Oath of Allegiance) on the 24th of December. Since that day, he has been both a devoted and inspiring member of the Ahmadiyya Community. Alhamdolillah (All praise belongs to Allah).
Waseem A. Sayed, PhD
Representative and Spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Mérida, Mexico. Head of Spanish Desk USA
Imam Noman Rana and Dr. Waseem Sayed have been stationed there to spread the message of Islam, Ahmadiyyat.
A Literal Shower of Divine Blessings
A faith-inspiring story, of how Allah graciously answers the humble supplications of His servants, comes from Los Angeles, California.
The story begins in 2012, when a drought in California began. During the past three years, the state has seen an unprecedented dry spell, with some of the lowest rainfall levels in centuries. The drought damaged crops, afflicted the economy and led to widespread water usage restrictions.
On April 3, 2015, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiahas, worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, delivered his Friday Sermon from Baitul Futuh Mosque in London, in which he shared stories of villages in Africa afflicted with drought, where Ahmadi Muslims prayed for rain with success. Consequently, a large number of people accepted Ahmadiyyat as a result of witnessing the fruits of the prayers of these Ahmadi Muslims.
The following day, on 4th April 2015, I, a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Ahmadiyya Community, visited London as part of a larger delegation of members of Majlis Khuddam ul Ahmadiyya USA (or MKA USA – this is a major youth group in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who actively pledge to serve and be loyal to their faith, country and nation and engage in charity appeals, blood drives and so on to help people indiscriminately). We requested His Holiness’aba guidance regarding the drought in California. We asked about offering a similar congregational prayer for rain in Los Angeles, to follow the example shared in the Friday Sermon of the previous day. His Holiness responded favourably and guided that a Salatul Istiska (a specially prescribed congregational prayer in Islam for rain) could and should be performed and led by an Ahmadi Muslim. Upon our return to California from London, the youth witnessed something wondrous—rainfall at the airport as the plane landed! It was as though God was literally showering His blessings on His humble supplicants.
During the course of the next few weeks, there were intermittent bouts of rain in California, but nothing substantial.
On Sunday, 3rd May, Salatul Istiska was performed at the Baitul Hameed Mosque. Over 300 men, women and children gathered on a scorching hot day of 95oF at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, California. Imam Mohammed Zafarullah Hanjra, a Regional Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for Southwest USA, shared the Hadith (Saying of the Prophet Muhammadsa) narrated by Hazrat ‘A’ishahra, the blessed wife of the Prophetsa, regarding the prayers for rain performed by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
In this Saying the Holy Prophetsa said:
“‘Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Master of the Day of Judgment. There is no God but Allah Who does what He wishes. O Allah, Thou art Allah, there is no deity but Thou, the Rich, while we are the poor. Send down the rain upon us and make what Thou sendest down a strength and satisfaction for a time.’
The Prophetsa then raised his hands, and kept raising them till the whiteness under his armpits was visible. He then turned his back to the people and inverted or turned round his cloak while keeping his hands aloft. He then faced the people, descended and prayed two Raka’at (or units of the prayer).
Allah then produced a cloud, and the storm of thunder and lightning came on. Then the rain fell by Allah’s permission, and before he reached his mosque streams were flowing. When he saw the speed with which the people were seeking shelter, he laughed till his back teeth were visible. Then he said: ‘I testify that Allah is Omnipotent and that I am Allah’s servant and apostle.’”
After the Imam’s sermon, the congregants went outside and the Imam led Salatul Istiska, wearing a white cloth to follow the Practice of the Holy Prophetsa. Two Raka’at (units of the prayer) were performed and the prayer for rain was recited.
Only four days after this blessed event was held, it began raining in Southern California. The rain was much needed as there had been incessant heat during the preceding days. Many youth participated in a convention in nearby Big Bear, California, where it snowed for two days.
Over the following month, newspapers and meteorologists reported the unusually large amount of rainfall in Southern California. In fact, 14th May 2015 saw record-breaking levels of rainfall in Southern California, as reported by The Weather Channel’s website, weather.com:
“After a winter and early spring yielding record low Sierra snowpack compounding a crippling multi-year drought, parts of California saw a strangely out-of-season soaking late this past week.
Record rainfall fell in Southern California. On Thursday, showers and thunderstorms brought locally heavy rainfall to the San Diego area. San Diego International Airport measured 1.51 inches of rain in just about 90 minutes. A total of 1.63 inches fell on Thursday at Lindbergh Field, making it the wettest day in May on record.
This heavy rain brought flash flooding to the area with multiple water rescues reported. There was also a rain delay for the baseball game between the Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres on Thursday night. This is only the fifth rain delay at San Diego’s Petco Park since opening in 2004.
San Diego is also experiencing its second wettest May as of Friday evening, with a monthly total of 2.35 inches. The current record for wettest May is 2.54 inches set in 1921.
Record rainfall also occurred in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday where a daily rainfall record of 0.69 inches of rain was set. LA broke the daily record rainfall again on Friday with an additional 0.16 inches. The previous record was only 0.03 inches set in 1902.”
With the sheer blessings of our Gracious God and the guidance of our beloved Khalifah (Caliph – spiritual leader), we were all witness to the showering of blessings in the form of much needed rain in Southern California. This incident has left a lasting impression on the hearts, minds and souls of the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Los Angeles. Alhamdulillah (All praise belongs to Allah).
Dr. Ahsan Mahmood Khan
Los Angeles, California