Pioneering the message in Buenos Aires
By the Grace of God Almighty, I recently graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya UK [the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s training seminary for missionaries] in June 2016 and my first permanent appointment as an Imam is in Argentina. It is definitely a huge privilege to be the direct representative of the Fifth Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, in the eighth largest country of the world. However, it is also a very huge responsibility and many challenges come with this privilege.
Argentina is a Spanish-speaking country, so the first challenge is to learn the language. Another challenge is to make new contacts and form friendships from scratch because there is only one Argentinian new Ahmadi and he lives 6 hours away from the capital, Buenos Aires, in Santa Fe. I am fortunate that I have met another Pakistani Ahmadi here in Buenos Aires, so at least we can sometimes offer the Friday prayer in congregation. Argentina is a predominantly Catholic country; it also has the largest Jewish community in the whole of Latin America.
Argentina is famous for its multicultural society and migrant communities from different countries, especially Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia and Syria and over the past decade, China. One of the largest mosques in Latin America is also located in Buenos Aires, which is known as ‘Grande Mezquita’ (meaning ‘big mosque’).
Many of the 40 million Argentines are not only unaware of the advent of the Promised Messiahas (as foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islamsa and fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 1835-1908), but have also a very limited and superficial knowledge of Islam. Argentina is fertile ground for Ahmadiyyat to propagate the message of the Holy Prophetsa and I have the blessed opportunity to be a key part of this historic journey. I am blessed and very fortunate to be the only and direct servant of Promised Messiahas in this country, where I am witnessing the Divine help manifested to spread the message of Ahmadiyyat on a daily basis. I am sure this is because of being the recipient of Divine blessings and favours. It is not due to any of my personal qualities but only because I am the servant of Khalifatul Masih [Supreme Head of The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community]. Thus, I shall relate one such incident from the countless Divine blessings and the fulfilment of the Divine promise revealed to the founder of the Community stating, ‘I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth.’
With the permission of Huzur-e-Anwar [His Holiness], I have joined a local football club. Usually after training I walk home alone. However one day after training one of my colleagues unexpectedly asked me if we could walk home together because he had a few questions about my role as an Imam.
During the whole journey back home, I introduced Islam and the Ahmadiyya Community to him. By the time we had reached my house, he still continued to show great interest and kept asking further questions. Whilst we were discussing the topic of religion, suddenly a man from behind approached us and said, ‘Disculpa (Excuse me) for interrupting, but I was also listening to your interesting conversation. I am a journalist and I would like to interview you and maybe work together with you because I have never met an Islamic theologian.’
The very moment he introduced himself I knew this was not a coincidence; rather, God Almighty had sent him to help with the propagation of Islam. I knew—in a city with a population of just under 3 million people—it could not just be a coincidence that I had met a journalist randomly on the street, who was interested in writing about Islam and our mission in Ahmadiyyat. Especially given the fact that since I had arrived in Buenos Aires I had tried constantly to contact different journalists without success.
Yet now a journalist was approaching me! The journalist has now become a close friend. Not only do we regularly meet once a week so that he can learn more about Islam, but he has also made me the official ‘Islamic correspondent’ of his magazine. Consequently by the Grace of Allah, I have now had the opportunity to regularly write articles about Islam in his magazine and the first article has just been published.
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