Original Urdu Reports by Abdul Majid Tahir
Translated by Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaba, Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, made a historical tour of North America in 2012. He spent nearly two weeks in Canada, where he graciously attended the 36th Canadian Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention), met with dignitaries and kindly provided guidance and advice to the members of Jama’at (Ahmadiyya Muslim Community).
Original Urdu reports by Abdul Majid Tahir (Additional Director of Foreign Missions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community).
His Holiness would be engaged in official duties and engagements from dawn until late in the evening. At dawn, His Holiness would lead the Fajr prayer followed by attending to the official duties, checking post, advising and giving guidelines in various matters pertaining to the Jama’at. During the day, various Jama’at functions and meetings occupied the time of His Holiness and the evening schedule of His Holiness generally consisted of family Mulaqat (a private audience with the families, listening to their concerns, advising on various matters and where fortunate students receive pens and young people chocolates). He also attended Ameen ceremonies of children at the completion of the first round of reading the Holy Qur’an, Nikah (Islamic public declaration of marriage) and wedding ceremonies and only returned to his residences after leading the Isha’a Salat (late evening prayers).
July 3rd, 2012 – Arrival in Canada
After a successful tour of USA [we will feature coverage of the visit of His Holiness to the USA in one of our upcoming editions—Ed.] filled with the signs of blessings and grace of Allah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba arrived in Canada by crossing the Whirlpool Bridge as the State guest of the Government of Canada with full protocol and honour. He was received at the Canadian border by dignitaries of the Canadian Government, including by the representative of the Premier of Canada. The motorcade of His Holiness was given a police escort from the York region. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba arrived at the Baitus Salam Mosque in Peace Village, Toronto. In Peace Village, more than 1000 Ahmadi families reside and local streets and buildings are named after important Ahmadi personalities and landmarks from Qadian and Rabwah. Almost 6000 dedicated Ahmadis filled the streets of the beautifully decorated Peace Village to welcome and catch a glimpse of their beloved Khalifah; they were raising faith-inspiring slogans and their eyes were full of tears of dedication, affection and gratitude. Their devoted welcome was rewarded by His Holiness, who granted the greeting devotees a long audience by standing at the threshold of his guest house for a long time; a great display of untainted mutual love. After an affectionate farewell, the members of the USA Jama’at who were escorting the motorcade, left for home with prayers from their beloved Khalifah and treasured memories. After offering congregational Salat (formal Prayer), His Holiness went to his residence. This visit to Canada was given detailed coverage by print and non-print media, such as CNN.
4th July 2012
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba met with Rt. Honourable Mr Justin Trudeau; a politician with a strong record in human rights. His Holiness explained to him that a Muslim can integrate into any society and that a true and dedicated Muslim can become an effective part of any community. Mr Trudeau related that he believes that the Holy Prophetsa was a prophet of God. He once offered prayers in a mosque, which offended Wahabis, as he later found out. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that mosques should be there for all to worship who believe in the Oneness of God. His Holiness expressed his likeness to this philosophy of Mr Trudeau that our values make us Canadian. Afterwards, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba met the Mayor of Bradford and West Gwilimbury. Whilst discussing matters of mutual interest, His Holiness shared his passion for fruit trees. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was given a present of a special traditional coat pin of Canada; whilst graciously accepting this, His Holiness said that he would wear the pin when he next visited Canada. The Mayor was intrigued to see the ring bearing the Divine words, “Is Allah not sufficient for His servant.” His Holiness explained that this was a Divinely inspired, 132-years old ring, which was made after the Promised Messiahas received the Divine revelation. His Holiness explained that he successfully grew wheat in Ghana for the first time and when he went to Ghana on an official visit after becoming Khalifah, the Prime Minister of Ghana greeted him by saying, “Welcome home”. His Holiness continued to demonstrate this knowledge and commitment to gardening explaining that he has some cherry and other plants in his office, and despite his busy schedule, whenever he can he tends to these plants and waters them.
July 5th, 2012
His Holiness inspected the preparation of the 36th Canadian Jalsa Salana at the International Centre Mississauga. His Holiness expressed the blessed importance of the opportunity to help out with Jalsa duties. He emphasised that this is not an ordinary task; the guests of the Jalsa Salana should be served with much ethos and dedication. It should be understood that it is a blessing to have an opportunity to serve the guests of the Promised Messiahas. His Holiness strongly reiterated the importance of congregational prayers, (Salat) during Jalsa duties and stressed that all duty holders should make sure that they offer Salat in congregation while carrying out Jalsa duty. His Holiness advised the workers to remain vigilant and alert regarding the safety and security during Jalsa proceedings. His Holiness checked the food that is prepared for the Jalsa guests; and made the day of a young boy by feeding him a cake with his hand. His Holiness later visited the boarding facilities for Jamia students (Ahmadiyya School of Theology). He was most gracious to a student from Kazakhstan and held his hand and had a picture taken with him. This was a moment of extreme honour for the young man and his family; his father was overcome by emotions of dedication when he heard that his son has been granted such an honour by the Khalifah of the time.
July 6th, 2012
After the flag hoisting ceremony marking the opening of the proceedings of the Jalsa Salana Canada, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the Jumu‘ah (Friday Prayers) and gave a faith-inspiring sermon. For the rest of the day, His Holiness attended to his many wide and varied official duties.
July 7th, 2012
The highlight of the day was when Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaba addressed the ladies of the Community. After awarding gold medals for academic excellence, His Holiness expounded on the 4th Condition of Bai’at (pledge of initiation taken when joining the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam) explaining the evils of rituals, ceremonies and the blessings in being spend thrift. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba praised the dedication of Ahmadiwomen who are making financial sacrifices and enormous Chanda contributions. His Holiness encouraged Ahmadi women to show consideration towards their poorer sisters who are unable to afford even one item of gold when getting married. His Holiness advised that it is not necessary to adopt every aspect of the culture of this developed society; Ahmadi women should maintain their self-respect and should firmly reject all un-Islamic aspects of the Western society in order to fulfil their pledge of Bai’at.
July 8th, 2012
On the last day of Canadian Jalsa Salana, His Holiness awarded gold medals to Ahmadis for high academic achievements. This year, the Sir Zafrulla Khan award was given to Mr. Greg Sorbana, a politician of the Liberal party for his valuable services to humanity. In his acceptance speech, Mr Sorbana praised the high moral values of Ahmadiyyat. His Holiness delivered the concluding address, in which he expounded the importance of Khilafat. He said that it is the standard practice that during the Jalsa Salana at least one speech addresses the important topic of Khilafat. As in the Canadian Jalsa there were no speeches on this topic, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba chose to explain this subject himself. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that there are three types of Khilafats; one the vicegerent of Allah as described in the creation of Adamas, second the Prophets that followed the Prophet Mosesas were also called Khalifah and thirdly a person amongst the followers of a Prophet can be elected by God as a Khalifah. Some people may have difficulty comprehending how it could be correct that God chooses a Khalifah when the procedure is that people vote for a Khalifah during the election. His Holiness explained that the evidence that the Khalifah is chosen by God can be summarised as following.
The love that the followers have for their Khalifah is an exceptional sentiment; the audience of the Khalifah grants people peace and tranquillity
A Khalifah invites people to focus on God and raise their standard of worship to enhance their bond with God. This is because the Khalifah is from God.
The opponents of a Khalifah, no matter how powerful, are always defeated, enforcing people’s faith in God and His Khalifah.
A crystal clear evidence that Ahmadiyya Khilafat is supported by God is that despite all the opposition and animosity, Islam Ahmadiyyat is established in more than 200 countries; a clear sign of the Grace of God.
Every-day people with a pious nature are being brought into Ahmadiyyat, guided by true dreams.
The Khalifah of the time is granted the Divine sign of acceptance of prayers for people who ask him for prayers. There are numerous examples of these.
His Holiness said that Khilafat is here to stay forever; the enemies of Khilafat should re-think their actions, as they cannot harm the system of Khilafat at all. It is not wise to raise objections to Khalifah or his system. After the address, His Holiness hosted a lunch for nearly 1000 dignitaries comprising of politicians, police officers and other members of the community. After this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba graciously gave his valuable time for a joint Mulaqat with the ladies, where a large number of women had a chance to speak to His Holiness and make requests for prayers. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the Nikah ceremony of twelve fortunate couples. In the sermon, His Holiness explained that the Holy Prophetsa had the greatest understanding of human psychology and that is why he chose such pertinent verses of the Holy Qur’an to be recited at the time of Nikah ceremony. The subject-matter of these verses is Taqwa (righteousness), the importance of family ties, the emphasis on absolute truth and accountability on the day of judgement. His Holiness said that if these commandments were followed, the problems of family disharmony would decrease significantly. Following the teachings given in these verses of the Holy Qur’an can solve the problems of marital discord and the increasing number of divorces. His Holiness said that he finds it extremely painful when unpleasant incidences of marital discord of the Jama’at members have to be brought to his attention. His Holiness expounded on the Islamic teaching that the marriage proposals should be based on the level of piety and righteousness.
To those getting married, His Holiness advised that they should base all their interactions on Taqwa (righteousness). Their main focus in life should be to fulfil the rights of others and make it their primary responsibility to look after their in-laws. Married life can only be built on trust, which comes from adopting the straight truth, all truth, nothing but the truth and the truth that can only be interpreted in one way. The relationship should be based on purity and clarity. People should be mindful that it creates an air of mistrust in marital relationships when any information about inappropriate past interactions with the opposite gender by emails, texts etc. come to surface after marriage. One has to remember all the time that one will be accountable to God on the Day of Judgement for one’s action, so one needs to be very careful. His Holiness said that 18-20% divorce rate is the Canadian Jama’at is alarming and this has to be addressed; the solution to this lies in adopting righteousness. Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaba instructed that the girls who marry Waqf men (those who have formally dedicated their lives for the services of Jama’at) should not make any demands of them. A life devotee can be appointed to serve Ahmadiyyat anywhere in the world, so they should be prepared to live in Africa or Asia. Those girls getting married to life devotees should start their married lives imbibed with the spirit of life devotion.
July 9th 2012
His Holiness met with Canadian dignitaries, including MP Judy Sgro, Counsellor Markhan discussing matters relevant to Ahmadis in Pakistan and Canada. This was followed by Mulaqat with new converts, who explained how they accepted Ahmadiyyat based on their research of Ahmadi literature, watching MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya) and by seeing examples of good Ahmadi friends, and by prayers. His Holiness advised them to become regular in Salat and to always say the Fajr (early morning) Prayer on time, so much so that it becomes their second nature to do so.
July 10th 2012
The routine of the morning was followed by a visit to Hadiqa Ahmad; a piece of land bought for National Headquarters in Canada. This beautiful place is a 30-minute train ride from Toronto. Many fruit trees including cherry, pears, apples, plum, blueberry and raspberry are planted here; these are supported by a complex irrigation system. His Holiness planted an apple tree and attended the BBQ given in his honour. His Holiness also named a farm house of a dedicated Ahmadi, as Rabwah Farm House.
His Holiness attended the convocation ceremony of the Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada, where students of theology are trained to the degree of Shahid (literally meaning the witness). The plans to build Jamia in Canada were approved in 2001. The Jamia was set up in 2003, the first in any Western Country, and the first graduates qualified in 2010. The students of theology at the Jamia are taught the knowledge of the Holy Qur’an with translation and commentary, Hadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islamsa), history of Islam, comparative study of religions, Islamic jurisprudence and religious philosophy. They are also taught the Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Spanish languages, and are trained in Homeopathy and cooking. They attend regular Tabiyyati classes and have completed teaching sessions in Qadian and Rabwah. They submit dissertations, which are assessed by external examiners. They also have a comprehensive physical activity curriculum that involves an endurance walk, rowing, kayaking, canoeing and camping.
His Holiness congratulated these young men who have acquired the status of missionaries and religious teachers. He advised them to regard this graduation as the first step in the quest to acquire knowledge and remain focussed on increasing their knowledge with humility and humbleness. His Holiness advised these young theology graduates to ingrain the habit of hard work, focus on Allah and ask for His help as they have dedicated every moment of their life for the service of Islam, and to lead by examples. The role of a missionary is to guide others, not just by empty advice, but to lead by example. They should be prepared to be sent anywhere in the world to fulfil their duties as missionary, so they should be mentally prepared for this. To sing poems of commitment and dedication is all fine and good, but the practical demonstration of dedication is all that is needed now. A life devotee should always be ready to make any sacrifice at any time.
Another highlight of the day was the inauguration of the new Tahir Hall, the foundation stone for which was laid in 2012 (more details about this event can be found elsewhere in this edition—Ed). His Holiness addressed 400 invited guests explaining the teaching of Islam that promotes a balance between respect of one’s belief and freedom of speech, His Holiness warned that insults thrown at religious leaders cause disunity in the society.
July 12th 2012
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaba held a class with the Waqfe Nau children. There was no Hadith on the agenda of the class and His Holiness kindly guided the organisers to always have Hadith as an agenda item for Waqfe Nau classes. His Holiness advised theyoung Ahmadis to always fulfil their oaths, strive in the cause of Allah with the best of their abilities and regard themselves as the most fortunate children who have been chosen for the blessed task of the revival of Islam. He advised those, who are not fully inclined to fulfil the commitment of Waqf, to not to deceive themselves and thus not continue with Waqf. He answered their questions about dedication to one’s country, the status of a martyrs and the importance of the Black Stone of Ka’bah.
13th July 2012
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaba led Friday Prayers in Baitus Salam. 7000 worshippers attended for the prayers and the sermon was relayed live all over the world. This was followed by official engagements and Bai’at ceremony.
The residents of Peace Village were granted a blessed opportunity of a lifetime when His Holiness took a walk about on the streets of Peace Village. The joy, happiness, gratitude and blessings of seeing God’s Khalifah on their street could only be expressed by tears and supplications. The joy and happiness over this good fortune of the people of Peace Village cannot be described in words; their eyes were filled with tears to show gratitude to God for being part of this blessed memorable occasion.
July 14th 2012
His Holiness had a meeting with Majlis Khuddam Ahmadiyya Canada (Youth Auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Community Canada). He advised on the general working practices of the organisation. His Holiness expressed his concerned over a very small minority of young Ahmadi men getting involved in inappropriate practices such as alcohol, drug misuse and extramarital relationships. Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaba advised that he should be informed of any such developments in the Jama’at so that he could give appropriate advice. He recommended that young men with strong characters should try and engage those Khuddam who were involved in un-Islamic practices and try and reform them. His Holiness also advised young Ahmadis to increase their Chanda contributions. He explained that people should be made to understand that financial contributions are made with an intention to progress in faith. He encouraged the officeholders to raise awareness amongst people about how the contributions are spent so that people could have faith in the financial system of the Jama’at. His Holiness commended that Lajna has already pledged a large sum of money to sponsor model villages in Africa and solar projects.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that Iftal (children below the age of 15) should be trained in such a manner that they become completely committed to Salat. They should be made to comprehend the real status and worth of being an Ahmadi child and should be trained to focus on five Salat a day. Itfal should be encouraged to listen to the Friday sermon and should be trained to grow into reformed young men. His Holiness advised against the practices of dating and free-mixing of people of opposite sexes. He counselled young men to enhance their understanding of the concept of Khilafat. He explained that they could solidify their bond with Khilafat by improving their religious knowledge. His Holiness advised on many other matters relating to education and training. This session was followed by meetings with business leaders and university students. His Holiness explained a Hadith that the knowledge of religion and knowledge of the body are two important types of knowledge. He advised a young university student to consolidate his concept of evolution by reading chapters 5 and 6 of the epic book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth. His Holiness explained that he had written to many political leaders of the world warning them about the dangers of a Third World War that may lead to an atomic disaster; this is part of his duty.
This was followed by meeting with the Lajna (ladies of the Ahmadiyya Community) who are going to, or due to start, University. His Holiness summarised his daily schedule, which starts before the breaking of dawn and official commitments and religious duties carried on well into the night. In his daily routine, His Holiness dedicates some time to private study and sleeps only for a short time. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba impressed upon these young students the importance of purdah. Purdah secures the sanctity of women and has been part and parcel of all religious laws in some form. His Holiness expounded that by observing purdah women are empowered to uphold this sanctity and chastity; women are encouraged to take responsibility of their self-respect because not every man in the world can be trusted. His Holiness explained that to get married is a decision that should be taken by the girl. Her parents have no right to impose their will on their daughter. He also advised girls not to let go of good matrimonial proposals just for the sake of their studies. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba told the girls to invest time in studiesm but not to expect their future husbands to foot the bill of their university education. He advised women that they are allowed to study journalism, which will equip them with the skills to defend Islam.
July 15th 2012
His Holiness inaugurated the new office block of Humanity First (humanitarian charity organisation). Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended a Nikah ceremony, stressing the importance of righteousness in worldly and spiritual matters in starting new relationships.
July 16th 2012
His Holiness attended a reception given by the Premier of Ontario, Canada and thanked him for this kind invitation. His Holiness addressed the topics of freedom of speech, open market, economic crisis and the Ahmadiyya point of view about services to humanity [more details of the reception by the Premier of Ontario can be read in our other articles in this edition—Ed.]
July 17th 2012
His Holiness met the national Majlis-e-Amila (national executive committee) of the Ahmadiyya Community Canada. He visited the library and the new building of Jamia Ahmadiyya. His Holiness expressed concern at the low percentage of religious knowledge papers that are submitted by Ansar. His Holiness instructed that all office holders must attempt these papers. His Holiness advised to focus on the training of new converts and paying of Chanda contributions at the prescribed rate. His Holiness said that if everybody gave their Chanda according to the prescribed rate then it would not be necessary to ask for additional Chanda. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised to aim to increase the number of earning members entering the system of Wasiyyat. His Holiness advised that those officeholders who do not regularly attend the congregational prayers should be discharged from their duties. His Holiness also advised officeholders to engage with those Ahmadis whose bonds with the Jama’at have weakened. They should be involved in Jama’at activities and given tasks to perform; however, should not be given office at this early stage. His Holiness said that boys over the age of 15 should be engaged in Jama’at activities and office holders should grow beards in accordance with the Sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa. In response to one question, His Holiness explained that he had to reject some of the programmes recorded for MTA because purdah in certain programmes was not acceptable. His Holiness also re-emphasised that Chanda cannot be accepted for the services of Jama’at from people who work in shops selling pork and alcohol. His Holiness advised people not to sit idle at home but and take whatever job is available.
This was the last day of His Holiness in Canada. This meeting was followed by an emotional farewell when more than 3000 people turned up to say Salam to their beloved Khalifah; their eyes were tearful, their hearts were saddened and their tongues were full of slogans expressing gratitude for the honour of hosting the visit of the Khalifah. Their minds were full of prayers for the safe journey of their beloved Khalifah and the success of the mission of Islam. At the Toronto airport, His Holiness was given full protocol and he travelled by a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport where he was welcomed by the dignitaries and members of the UK Jama’at.
Edited by Hibba Turrauf and Mariam Malik