By Syed Amer Safir – Berlin, Germany.
The Caliph Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, earlier today left Frankfurt after 11am for the next stage of his European tour and arrived in Berlin this evening, where he was received by a passionate crowd of Ahmadi Muslims. The Caliph arrived at the Khadija Mosque around 7pm where he led the evening congregational Maghreb and Ishaa prayers.
There were some very touching moments as the Caliph departed Bait-Us-Sabuh in Frankfurt. When the Caliph came out of his residence, he walked slowly between the crowds and approached several of the Ahmadi Muslims waiting to say goodbye and spoke to them personally.
To one long bearded man who was passionately raising slogans, the Caliph shared a joke. His name is Mr. Shiekh Shaukat, 64 from Karlsruhe. He once owned a pizza shop and later became a truck driver. Nowadays he is in semi-retirement and is serving the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, driving passengers around in a mini-van. I have noticed that since the start of the Caliph’s European Tour, Mr. Shaukat has been an ever present figure. In the Annual Conventions (Jalsa Salana) of Holland and France, he would regularly stand up during the proceedings to raise slogans with great passion, out of love for the Caliph. Mr. Shaukat is a convert to Islam Ahmadiyyat.
Here at the Caliph’s departure from Bait-Us-Sabuh, Frankfurt, he again raised a slogan as the Caliph walked between the crowd. However this time, the Caliph hearing the slogan approached Mr. Shaukat to speak to him. I spoke to Mr. Shaukat after and he described the experience:
‘The Caliph came forward a few steps towards me after I raised the slogan of “Naaray Takber” and “Inni Maaka Ya Masroor” [I am with you O Masroor – a revelation given to the Promised Messiah] and said to me “do you know how to write down ‘Naaray’”. To this I replied, “Noon – Ain– Ray” [spelling in Urdu], and I gestured with hand movements how I believed it should be written. Then in excitement I very quickly said ‘Takbeer’ really fast twice and basically got a bit muddled up. The Caliph smiled broadly and seemed so happy. Then the Caliph said to me to write ‘Naaray’ again. Twice or thrice this happened where the Caliph told me to do this, each time smiling so much as I tried to spell it out. Personally, I feel the Caliph was trying to say to me jokingly that if I knew how to proclaim ‘Naaray’ then I should also be familiar with how to write it out as well!’
I asked Mr. Shaukat how it felt, having raised the slogans so often in the past few weeks in the Caliph’s presence during the tour, to be approached by the Caliph himself and to speak to him.
‘I felt as if the Messiah of God was coming towards me, a weak and sick person’ said Mr. Shaukat. I asked him what he meant by a ‘sick’ person? ‘One who is spiritually weak’ he replied. ‘This is how the Promised Messiah has been described as well, as one who will heal the spiritually ill. God has given us a spiritual guide for our moral and spiritual training. And so in that one minute when the Caliph addressed me it seemed as if I had obtained the whole world. When the Caliph’s glance met mine – what I saw was Nur(spiritual light). I will remember this moment forever and whenever I do, it always give me huge delight and comfort. I went to Holland and France because I am devoted to the Caliph. I am now in Berlin to see my Caliph again!’
The Caliph walked around the crowd further and to another Ahmadi whose fingers had suffered an injury. The Caliph held his hand for some time with great sympathy. Very lovingly the Caliph enquired with great attention about his health while continuing to hold his hand to examine the injury and then advised him on the type of medicine he should take. And to yet another Ahmadi, a young boy, the Caliph enquired about his well-being and life plans and then gave the young man guidance.
Moving around further the Caliph headed towards where the ladies were standing, who waved frantically to draw the attention of their beloved leader. The Caliph gave them ample time and waved back. Nearby, there were two Syrian Ahmadis. They could only speak Arabic and hence Munir Odeh acted as translator. Odeh, originally from Palestine, is Director of Production of MTA International, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s official TV station (www.mta.tv). Odeh is responsible for the broadcast of the Caliph’s functions on tour on MTA. Odeh told me later that the Caliph asked with concern and care about who the two Syrians were, where they had come from and what they were doing here.
These are just a few glimpses from the departure of the Caliph of the People from Frankfurt, who interacted with his followers, showed them love, shared jokes with them, comforted them, smiled with them and showered them with compassion.
After a gruelling one week stay in Frankfurt where he led all five prayers daily, conducted scores of ‘Ameen’ Ceremonies, met hundreds of Ahmadis in private audiences, delivered two speeches at two mosques he inaugurated, delivered the Friday Sermon, led many ‘Nikahs’, the Caliph now embarks on the next stage of the Germany tour. Most of all, the Caliph has been changing the hearts of people, both Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis, many of whom described how their lives have changed after meeting and hearing the Caliph.
Caliph to Address Berlin
Tomorrow, the Caliph will address a special reception in Berlin where numerous dignitaries and parliamentarians are expected. The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 as physical and ideological divide between communism and democracy and which created a separation between the poor and the rich. In November 1989 the Berlin Wall opened and this divide was symbolically finished. The fall of the Berlin Wall represented many things to many people. For some it meant the end of Communism and for others it was the beginning of freedom of movement and the eradication of barriers of class. It was meant to usher in a period of peace and prosperity.
Many decades later, the landscape of Germany has changed considerably. Far right groups have gained strength at an alarming rate. Mass immigration has meant millions have entered Germany from foreign countries, hugely changing the social, political and cultural landscape. On a global level, the fall of the Berlin Wall was meant to signify the end of the Cold War. However, today the world appears to be hurtling towards a global war and ideological walls have once again been erected between nations. Flashpoints have erupted across the world such as between Iran and the USA and between Pakistan and India. Nuclear weapons possessed by many of these nations means a full-scale war could result in catastrophic destruction, the scale of which mankind has never witnessed.
It will be fascinating therefore to listen to the message of the Caliph tomorrow from the city of the Berlin Wall and how he will propose the ‘walls’ of enmity that have formed between nations and peoples can be felled.
About the Author: Syed Amer Safir is the Chief Editor & Manager of The Review of Religions English Edition and Secretary of the Management Committee which oversees all The Review of Religions activities worldwide.