Farhat Mahmood, UK
It has been more than a year since last year’s Eid-ul-Fitr. By this time last year, the Fifth Caliph, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) had moved to Islamabad Tilford, from Fazl Mosque, London. Ahmadi hearts were rejoicing with the move to a new, larger premise and all the blessings that would surely follow for the Jama’at (community). For the Ahmadi residents near Fazl Mosque, there was joy, but it was bittersweet, as the area felt the sadness of separation in those early days. My husband is a life devotee of the Jama’at. We lived close to the Fazl Mosque at that time. My husband had moved with Huzoor (His Holiness) (aba) to Islamabad; I had not yet moved as we were awaiting the completion of our accommodations in Islamabad.
That Eid, Huzoor (aba) led the Eid prayer at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, after which he came and spent some time back at the Fazl Mosque complex. Huzoor (aba) was visiting the guest house which was the house a few doors down from my own. As evening came, people gathered around the guest house awaiting Huzoor’s (aba) departure for Islamabad. Wherever Huzoor (aba) may be, the air there becomes electric. Such was the feeling outside in the neighbourhood and roads that were graced by his presence. Among the crowd was my son, Haris. Earlier that day, I had said to Haris to say Salaam (greeting of peace) to Huzoor (aba) when he sees him. I am not sure if I had specifically said to give my Salaam as well. In any case, he remembered to give not only his own Salaam but foremost to include his mother’s as well.
Another emotion that was running through me that day was that I was away from my beloved Huzoor (aba) since the move to Islamabad. I feel slightly foolish and guilty about this, thinking about it now, as there are millions of more deserving Ahmadis that are so far from the Khalifa (Caliph) physically, especially when I think of the Ahmadis in Pakistan where this separation has spanned almost 40 years.
Just as Huzoor (aba) was about to leave for Islamabad that evening, my husband came to the house to inform me of their departure. The cars were lined up outside ready to leave. I opened the front door slightly and peered through to see the movement, as I knew that there were just a few minutes till the entourage would leave.
Huzoor (aba) stepped out of the guest house. Haris was among the crowd. The conversation that took place, as I would later learn, was that Haris stepped forward, and meant to say to Huzoor (aba) ‘my mother sends you her Salaam‘. But because his Urdu is very weak, he ended up saying in his broken Urdu, ‘Huzoor, go say Salaam to my mother.’ Huzoor (aba) smiled and said ‘Acha’ (okay). All this happened in a matter of minutes as the crowd stood outside. Keep in mind that the time of the Khalifa is very precious. A child telling him to go to his house and say Salaam to his mother is really unheard of. But Huzoor (aba) did just that.
I was still peering from the door. I saw the brief interaction between Huzoor (aba) and Haris, and then I saw Huzoor (aba) turn his face toward my house. Then suddenly, I saw Huzoor (aba) walking in the direction of my house. My heart leapt. Was he a checking a car lined up near the house, or going to talk to someone standing nearby? I closed the door in panic so as not to disturb him in any way if he was coming in this direction for a purpose.
Within a few seconds, I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door and my beloved Huzoor (aba) was standing there smiling and he almost jokingly said ‘Your son said go say Salaam to my mother, Asslam-o-Alaikum (peace be upon you).’ In my shock, I just managed to make out the words Salaam, and then Huzoor (aba) closed the door and left. After that, all I can say is that I wept; I wept with tears of gratitude for the Khalifa that takes care of the wants of an innocent child. I wept for the kindness the Khalifa had shown me.
Also, my belief was strengthened once again, that God guides the Khalifa. Only God knew my sadness on that Eid day, as I had not spoken about it to anyone. Only God knew how to evaporate the sadness with His compassion.
After that Eid, I have had the blessed opportunity of living in Islamabad, near Huzoor (aba). This past year has brought great blessings for the Jama’at. In more current times, we are living through a pandemic. Eid-ul-Fitr has come again. We are all socially distant from our beloved Khalifa in equal measure these days. May God again listen to my heart and the hearts of thousands of Ahmadis, to, once again, reap the blessings of being in the physical presence of the Khalifa of our time.