Emotional Meeting of 116 Trainee German Imams with Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – Jamia Ahmadiyya Germany
By Syed Amer Safir -Riedstadt, Germany
Yesterday Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Fifth Caliph of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, visited Jamia Ahmadiyya Germany as part of his Germany Tour. The visit displayed the Caliph’s love for the soon-to-be Imams as he gave them ample time and attention. The Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is currently touring Germany having visited Holland and France as part of his European Tour. He has engaged in an extremely hectic schedule since the start of the tour with jam-packed activities on a daily basis.
The Jamia is an institution of languages and theology to train Imams for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. There are now Jamias around the world including amongst others in Ghana, UK and Canada. Students are trained in Quran and Hadith studies, Islamic jurisprudence as well as secular topics. Integration and loyalty to one’s nation are also an important part of the course.
On Tuesday 15th October 2019 His Holiness arrived at the Jamia in Riedstadt and was received by Shamshad Ahmad Qamar, Principal of Jamia Ahmadiyya Germany just after 2pm. He told me:
‘In reality, whenever His Holiness visits the Jamia, the most important thing to remember as the Principal or a teacher is that whatever endeavours we make to train and change the students throughout the years by means of speeches, lectures and different modes of teaching, we can never be successful in doing so as compared to the change that is brought about from a single meeting with His Holiness, from being in his company and from receiving his love and affection.
Normally the students make every effort to meet His Holiness in person, however there is also a large number of students here who cannot visit London due to having a Pakistani passport and not being able to fulfil the visa requirements. Hence, the Caliph’s visit to Germany is an extraordinary source of happiness for us and for these students as they are able to see him.
Usually people walk a distance to find a well and quench their thirst, but when His Holiness comes to visit us, it is as if the well itself has made its way to us. For me, there is no greater way of quenching our spiritual thirst than for the Caliph to come to us and show so much affection.
In order to attain the love of God Almighty and the Holy Prophet (sa), God Almighty has established Khilafat (caliphate) of the Promised Messiah (as) in this day and age. So today, all the teachers, workers and students have quenched their thirst from this fountain of spirituality.’
116 students, clad in traditional south Asian shalwar kameeze, lined up singing songs to receive their spiritual leader. Emotions were clearly high and many students were visibly inspired by the presence of the Caliph. Many of the Jamia students have in the past few years arrived from Pakistan and had previously never spent so much time with the Caliph in close proximity. This was a unique experience for them and one many recounted after to us they would never forget. These trainee Imams will after 7 years of study enter the field as fully-fledged Imams (or missionaries) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and will act as direct representatives of the Caliph in their appointment duties. The link between the Caliph and the Imams is therefore a special one as the Imams endeavour to implement every guidance of the Caliph during their lives.
The Caliph first led the Zuhr and Asr (afternoon) congregational prayers in the Jamia mosque. After, the Caliph attended a BBQ in his honour with all the students and staff. Tariq Zafar is a teacher at Jamia Germany and had the honour of the Caliph speaking to him in detail on several occasions during the Jamia visit. Zafar was serving the Caliph during the BBQ at the head table and was a key organiser during the class the Caliph held with the students. Afterwards Zafar told me:
‘These kind of experiences can’t be described. It is the Caliph’s favour that he chose to speak to me. He was very happy to come here. We had wished for him to relax a little bit from his hectic schedule. The Caliph spent more time with us then scheduled. His concern for the students is so great that he was asking us if we are using Roti or bread of which type. During this discussion, the Caliph came to know that some students avoid eating whole wheat bread and prefer, white bread. The Caliph said that some of the best bread is made in UK which is better than other European countries. He instructed that Jamia students should be offered whole wheat bread rather than white bread. This demonstrates how much the Caliph is concerned in minute detail for our health as well.’
As the Caliph was leaving the BBQ he stopped to speak to all those who had prepared the dinner. Raja Qamar is a worker at the Jamia and recounts the experience:
‘The Caliph asked me about the ingredients we had used in the preparation for one of the types of meat we had BBQ’d. I replied that we had used garlic, ginger, green chillies, yoghurt and so on. His Holiness then asked how long we marinated it for to which I replied for approximately four hours. His Holiness said we should keep it marinated for at least six hours. Then, His Holiness advised us about some further ingredients we should add, His Holiness said papaya pieces can be added to the mixture if there difficulties during the process and in terms of the chicken, he said that it had been made well.’
The Caliph then presided over a class with all the students, answering a range of questions relating to spirituality as well as practical-life scenarios. The Caliph gave ample time to anyone who wished to ask any question and the mutual love between the Caliph and the trainee Imams was palpable.
The Caliph then toured the premises including towards the end the library where he gave instructions for new books to be added to the catalogue. His Holiness instructed the Principal of Jamia Germany, in addition to other key books, to ensure The Review of Religions is received in the Jamia library in English, German, Spanish and French. Finally the Caliph blessed the students with photos with each class, culminating in a group photo with the entire student body. Evidently, the Caliph closely guided various aspects of the Jamia during his visit.
After the Caliph’s departure the students continued to sing and many were hugging each other for a long time after. They were clearly very touched by the Caliph’s visit. Sameer Khan from the 2nd year told me:
‘This programme was really successful and we are all delighted. We are so happy by the visit of His Holiness. We were praying that all goes well. We hope that the Caliph returns again in the coming years to the Jamia and that he feels like this is his own loving home.’
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