Reviving Islamic Eminence in Spain Through A Message of Peace
Khalifah of the Promised Messiah Visits Spain – Part 2
Original Urdu Reports By Abdul Majid Tahir
Translated by Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael
Islam and Spain:
Spanish land; lost by the sword; Spanish hearts won by the message of peace
In 1946, Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra, Second worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, passionately vowed that if enabled by God, he would send missionaries to Spain in order to spread the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat and conquer Spain for Islam once again by winning over the hearts of people; thus peacefully avenging the humiliating defeat, forced conversions and eviction of Muslims from Spain. Since 1936, missionaries from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have been working to spread the peaceful message of Islam to the people of Spain. To keep expanding this holy mission, the worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaba,visited Spain in March-April 2013 to inaugurate a newly built mosque in Valencia, Baitur Rahman. This is the second and final part of the tour report of Khalifatul Masih Vaba.
30th of March 2013
In the morning, His Holiness led formal prayer (Fajr) in congregation and attended to his wide and varied duties as the head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. At 11:30 AM His Holiness presided over a meeting of National Majlis Amila Ansarullah (national executive council of Ahmadi men over forty), France. The meeting started with silent prayers. His Holiness encouraged the Ahmadiyya Community France to make a concerted effort towards the preaching of Islam, particularly along the French-Spanish borders. His Holiness encouraged elders of the community to be motivated to serve the community in an active manner. He instructed officeholders to explain to their membership the concept of being an Ansar (which literally means “helper of Allah”), and make them realise their responsibilities.
This meeting was followed by family Mulaqaat, (a private audience with His Holiness), after which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the afternoon prayers in congregation. In the evening, His Holiness graciously attended an Amin ceremony (ceremony of the first reading of the Holy Qur’an), and led the congregational evening prayers in Baitur Rahman.
After leading the congregational early morning prayers, His Holiness spent the rest of the morning attending to his official duties. At 11:30 AM, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba chaired a class of Waqfe Nau youth, (young people who have pledged their life to the service of Islam). The Spanish youth made excellent presentations about a wide range of topics, such as the building of mosques, the writings of the Promised Messiahas and the expulsion of Muslims from Spain. During the 13th and 17th centuries, Muslims were evicted from their homes, forced to convert to Christianity, brutally killed at the hands of Christian soldiers and had their children taken away from them and enslaved. After the presentations, His Holiness gave career advice to the youths. His Holiness emphasised that sincere dedication is the absolute key in the service of the Community. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained to those who wished to join Jamiah (Ahmadiyya School of Theology), that the Jama’at can only afford to pay them a modest living allowance and that they should prepare themselves to live within these means. Emphasising the importance of their mission, His Holiness said that these experts of theology will spread the true picture of Islam to the whole world and Islam Ahmadiyyat will progress. This class finished at 12:25 PM and immediately afterwards, there was a class with female Waqfe Nau youth. Most graciously, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba answered the questions of these dedicated young ladies. His Holiness explained that if one is not able to focus in Prayer properly, then one should offer lots of Istaghfar (a prayer for repentance). His Holiness explained that the task of a Murabbi is to train people and the job of a Mubbaligh is to conduct the preaching. Lajna are Murabbi in their own sphere as they train their children. This class was followed by meetings with families from Spain, Norway, and Portugal until 2:20 PM. Then His Holiness led the congregational afternoon Prayers. After this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba went for a walk in the afternoon.
In the evening at 8:10 PM, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over a meeting with the National Majlis Amila Lajna Ima’illah (national executive council of Ahmadi women over fifteen) Spain. The meeting started with silent prayers. His Holiness gave instructions regarding a syllabus for the new converts to give them clear concepts about the teachings and traditions of the Jama’at. A brief summary of the guidelines imparted by His Holiness are summarised below:
A newsletter should be widely circulated.
The attendance of the moral training class should be improved.
The officeholders should encourage attendance with love and politeness; non-attendees should be encouraged to attend with love and affection.
Mothers should be encouraged to teach their children the Holy Qur’an and watch Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) programs; His Holiness said this is really important and greater focus should be placed on this.
The target for Bai’at (initiation) should be increased and concerte efforts should be made to achieve this goal.
The funds collected for service to mankind should be preferably sent to Africa.
Women should be encouraged to increase their income by using their sewing skills through the department of Trade and Industry.
More women should be encouraged to take part in regular exercise.
It is important that the younger girls get into the habit of reciting the Holy Qur’an every day.
Once again His Holiness explained that it is mandatory to cover the body and hair as part of Purdah, along with top of the forehead and chin.
Regular seminars should be organised to train for preaching.
His Holiness encouraged the Spanish Ahmadi women by saying that they have the potential to become the model community; they have an added advantage that their executive committee members running the administration of the Community are chosen from all across Spain. This meeting concluded at 8:45 PM. After this, His Holiness went to the makeshift catering facility/kitchen and graciously tasted the food for the evening. At the end of the day, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening congregational prayer and retired to his residence.
1st of April 2013
After leading the congregational morning prayers, His Holinessaba attended to reports and letters from all over the world, gave directions and guidance and attended to other administrative duties as the Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Community. After leading the congregational afternoon prayers, His Holiness spent some time with his family by taking a relaxing long walk. On his way back he visited the apartments of his entourage and graciously conversed with them. Later, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation and retired to his residence.
2nd of April 2013
After a busy morning leading congregational prayers and attending to his administrative duties, His Holiness went to the local beauty spots of Calp and Javea for a picnic with his entourage and family. In Calp, the motorcade of His Holiness was received by a police escort and the mayor hosted the visit of His Holiness. At the end of the visit, the mayor kindly offered His Holiness a souvenir detailing the history of the town. His Holiness gave him as a present the Spanish translation of the Holy Qur’an and the epic book, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam. After this, His Holiness’ motorcade went to the Penyal De Ifach, where the park directors hosted the visit. Later, His Holiness travelled to Javea and stopped for lunch and afternoon prayers at a local restaurant. At 5:15 PM, His Holiness returned back to Valencia and led the evening prayers in congregation at 9:00 PM. After this, His Holiness retired to his residence.
3rd of April 2013
After the routine of the morning, His Holiness attended to his wide and varied official duties. He led the congregational afternoon prayers at 2:00 PM and in the evening attended the reception to mark the inauguration of the Baitur Rahman mosque, in Valencia. This reception was attended by the president of the assembly of Valencia, along with many members of parliament, mayors and official dignitaries. During the pre-reception meeting with the VIP dignitaries, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba had a free and frank exchange of ideas about promoting peace in the world. His Holiness said that he had sent a message of congratulations to the newly elected Pope and would be very happy to meet and work with the Pope towards establishing peace in the world. His Holiness said that we Ahmadis are always ready to join in with anyone to serve humanity and promote peace. His Holiness thanked all the officials who helped to complete the project of the mosque. The president of the parliament said that he was a staunch Catholic, at which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said that he likes people who have strong faith; belief takes one to God and helps one to serve God’s people. His Holiness said that his message was that we can work together to establish peace in this part of the world, despite belonging to different religions. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba emphasised that Muslims should integrate in the society they live in; Muslim men should treat their women and children in the best possible manner. This meeting ended at 7:15 PM, following which the proceedings of the formal reception commenced. The reception was addressed by the female mayor of Pobla De Vallbona, Valencia, National Member of Parliament for Cantabria, representatives from the Government of Spain and the presidents of the Provincial Assembly of Valencia. His Holiness addressed the occasion thanking the participation of the audience, explaining the important Islamic teaching of maintaining a good relationship with neighbours and other peaceful teachings of Islam. His Holiness praised Spanish women for working hard to clean their houses and even the streets outside their homes. His Holiness explained that Islam teaches us to fulfil the rights of God as well as the rights of people and refrain from any form of injustice. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that Islam allows its followers to retaliate in the event of an attack; the main aim of this is self-defence and to protect all places of worship. At the end of the reception His Holiness led the late evening prayers in congregation and retired to his residence.
4th of April 2013
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the early morning prayers at Baitur Rahman Mosque, Valencia. Most of the day was spent responding to official documents, posts and reports about the activities of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, with a break for the afternoon prayers. In the evening, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba went out for a relaxing walk in the suburbs of Valencia. The official day of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba concluded by leading the late evening congregational prayers.
5th of April 2013
After leading the early morning prayers, His Holiness spent the rest of the morning attending to his wide and varied official duties. At 1:00 PM, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the Friday Jumah prayers and delivered a historical sermon that was relayed worldwide, live through MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International). His Holiness expressed the importance of adhering to Islamic teachings; practicing true Islam has become even more important after the inauguration of the mosque. In the afternoon, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba continued with meeting Ahmadis families. A delegate from Marrakesh came to seek an audience with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba and sought advice and guidance. Families from Barcelona, Madrid, Pedro Abad, Valencia and Naval Carneo, as well as Portugal, had the honour of a private audience with His Holiness. The meetings were concluded at 9:40 PM; then Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers before retiring to his residence.
6th of April 2013
After his extensive morning commitments, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba visited the town of Valle De Alcala in Alicante. The mountainous part of Alicante used to be a refuge for beleaguered Muslims in Spain, for centuries. The cruel Christian rulers ordered the eviction of Muslims from their homes in the cities and incarcerated them in this mountainous region; later these Muslims were either killed or banished from the country altogether.
A part of the journey to this part of Alicante was on the motorway and the remainder continued on narrow winding roads with sharp bends; the drive to the township took two hours and ten minutes. An academic specialising in Spanish history, Professor Girones, accompanied Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba on this trip. He explained that Muslim refugees in this mountainous region established a system of terraced farming to sustain themselves. In September 1609, hundreds of thousands of innocent and unarmed Muslims were ordered to leave the country. It was announced that the properties belonging to Muslims were to be handed over to the Christians; Christians were allowed to take whatever they liked of the belongings of Muslims. To add to this callousness, any Muslim caught attempting to burn his house or possessions was punished with the death penalty.
From the harbour Muslims were then evicted to North Africa, where they were attacked by pirates and killed; if they made it to land they were treated harshly by the locals. During the voyage, many men, women and children died because of the harsh conditions on board. The professor explained that some historians suggest that many Muslims were thrown into the sea just a few miles off shore; this was because the Christian army had only a few ships in which to evict Muslims. It was also explained that Muslim children were taken away from their parents and enslaved into Christian families, after their parents were killed or evicted from the country. Muslim women faced incredible brutality and some of them resorted to jumping from the tops of the hills, and were barbarically murdered when attempting to escape the attacks of Christian soldiers.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba visited the town of Valle De Alcala, an archaeologically preserved Muslim town. The Mayor of the town welcomed His Holiness. In response to a question, His Holiness said that the journey was long and uphill leading to some light-headedness, but after visiting the region and meeting the mayor he felt refreshed. The mayor explained to His Holiness that the mayoral office used to be a mosque, which was converted to a church by the ruler of the area called Azraq.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba wrote in the book of honour. His Holiness wrote:
“In the name of Allah, Most Gracious and ever Merciful. I’m happy as well as very emotional today that I have come to town where Muslims endured severe hardship; they were evicted from their homes and the children were taken away from them to be brought up in Christian families. As a Muslim, the attitude of people here and in particular the warm welcome by the Mayor make me hopeful that from now on Muslims will always be welcome here. I am particularly grateful to the Mayor and may Allah the Exalted reward him.”
The afternoon prayers were offered in a local restaurant, where arrangements for lunch were made. It was thought that the restaurant used to be the place of residence of a Muslim ruler, because of its size and magnificence. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba took pictures of the restaurant with his personal camera.
Later, His Holiness visited Despoblats De Adzuvieta, which are the archaeological ruins of a Muslim town. Muslims were evicted from the place in 1609, and the tragic reminders of this painful expulsion can be found everywhere. The homes from which Muslims were driven out are still standing; the doors and windows were taken away by the Christians. Clearly saddened by this distressing view, His Holiness went from the ruins of one home to the next, taking pictures of this tragic archaeological site. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba asked two members of his entourage to recite the Call for Prayers from the highest wall of the ruins. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba directed an Arab member to say Azaan (Call for Prayers), because it was the Arabs’ descendants who were evicted from this town. With the recitation of Azaan, the name of God and his Prophet were again raised, after four centuries of pain and suffering in this valley.
As the Call for Prayer was raised from this town of tragedy and bewilderment, with the Grace of God, a highly spiritual incident was observed. Soon after the Azaan was said, it started to hail for a short time, at which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba mentioned the revelation of the Promised Messiahas, “Again came the spring and we saw Tulg,” (which means hail, snow, extreme cold and also means a state of perfect peace of mind and tranquillity which is achieved regarding a certain objective. The natural outcome of such peace and tranquillity is happiness and contentment). Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba expressed his hope to the professor that the first steps for the return of Muslims to this part of Spain had been taken. With the Grace of Allah the Exalted, to follow in the footsteps of the Khalifatul Masihaba, dedicated Ahmadi Muslims will once again fill this valley with the light of Islam, and the chant of “Allah is the Greatest” shall be called out. Islam will prevail and Durud (blessings) will be invoked on the Holy Prophetsa.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba arrived back at his residence after 5:00 PM and after a short break, he returned to the Baitur Rahman Mosque to lead the evening prayers. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba also graciously attended a Nikah (marriage) ceremony and led silent prayers, after which His Holiness retired to his residence.
7th of April 2013
In the morning, His Holiness led the morning prayers and attended to his wide and varied official duties, including responding to the worldwide post and reports of the numerous activities of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, and he issued various directives.
At 11:30 AM Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over the National Executive Meeting of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Spain. The meeting started with silent prayers led by His Holiness, and the salient directives issued during the meeting are briefly summarised below:
Census (Tajneed) of the membership should be fully up-to-date.
All new converts should be integrated into the activities of the Community and developed into effective members of the Community.
A complete record should be maintained of the educational achievement and activities of the students. Those who are unable to continue their studies because of lack of funds should also be identified (for potential help).
The Secretary of Education of the Community has the responsibility to encourage students to seek higher education and promote university education.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba directed that the centre should help the Spanish Ahmadiyya Jama’at to develop their activities pertaining to arranging marital relationships.
His Holiness directed that the department of moral training should be more proactive; they need to encourage people to focus more on Prayer, the recitation of the Holy Qur’an, making a bond of connection with the mosque and reading the books of the Promised Messiahas.
His Holiness encouraged the Secretary of External Affairs to have more effective connections with the Council, refugee department, lawyers and judges. His Holiness directed that the monthly Persecution Report should be translated into Spanish and sent to all concerned.
The Secretary of Audio-Video is a Waqfe Nau youth; Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba directed him to visit London for a week and learn how programs are made for MTA and gain an understanding of the required standard. Then they should record programmes for MTA.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba addressed the Secretary Tabligh (for the propogation of Islam) that there is a need to make significant progress. Along with the scheme to hand out leaflets, they need to arrange seminars and conferences. His Holiness explained that in the beginning only a few dignitaries and local officials will attend, but in due course more connections will be developed.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba encouraged the Secretary of Publications to print leaflets in the Spanish language; the addresses of His Holiness on the topic of peace should be widely circulated in the Spanish language.
His Holiness directed that in the mosques and Salat centres all five Prayers should be offered daily.
At the end, His Holiness directed that the Executive Council should work hard, present itself as a role model and only then will people be attracted to the teachings of Islam. This meeting concluded at 12:30 PM.
Then the Executive Council of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya Spain (young men between the ages of 15 and 40) had the privilege of a meeting with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba. The salient points of the meeting are as follows:
Work should be done in an organised manner from the Central Office.
His Holiness encouraged youth to be active in the field of preaching Islam and to learn the skills to effectively deal with the accusations and allegations against the Jama’at.
Preaching lectures should be organised in universities; preaching efforts should be carried out in villages.
All youth should take part in the exam of a book of the Promised Messiahas.
Those members who are drifting away should be encouraged to engage in the activities of the Jama’at.
Promote social work, arrange for hospital visits, help the needy and engage with the elderly.
Activities involving sports should be encouraged.
The Finance Department should have a full and complete record; letters should be sent to raise Chanda.
The moral training of Atfal (boys, seven to fourteen years of age) should be mainly focused on making them regular in Prayers and the recitation of the Holy Qur’an.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba gave valuable advice regarding the planned website by the youth in Spain.
His Holiness said that the link to the MTA website can be a useful tool for Preaching, as well as recordings of the program Rah e Huda (Urdu discussion show).
After this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led a meeting with the Missionaries in Spain. His Holiness gave directions regarding increasing the preaching activities in Spain by approaching the Moorish population, arranging exhibitions in libraries and council houses, holding Qur’an exhibitions, meeting journalists and following up new connections. All three missionaries should plan the activities, identify the challenges and difficulties and work out the solutions. The missionaries should also show fortitude and manage people with patience and perseverance. If they notice anything that is against the interest of the Jama’at, then they should try and resolve it immediately; if missionaries encounter any problems in these matters they need to report to the Ahmadiyya Centre.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent the rest of the afternoon engaged in meeting Ahmadi families. Later, His Holiness planted an olive and pear tree in the courtyard of the mosque and led the afternoon prayers in congregation. In the afternoon, His Holiness went for an hour-long walk in the suburb of Valencia. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence.
8th of April 2013
After leading the morning prayers, His Holiness returned to his residence. At 9:00 AM after leading a long and emotional silent prayer, His Holiness bade farewell to the Ahmadis in Valencia. His Holiness took a train from Valencia Station to Madrid. At Madrid station, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was given full protocol. His Holiness travelled from Madrid Station to the airport by car. After lunch at a local restaurant, afternoon prayers were offered in congregation. At the airport, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was given full protocol and after the formalities of immigration, His Holiness boarded the British Airways flight to London. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba arrived at Heathrow Airport after 6:00 PM, where he was welcomed by the dignitaries of the UK Jama’at. After the formalities of immigration, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba left the airport for the Fazl Mosque in London, where he was welcomed by many dedicated and committed Ahmadis, who were delighted to receive their Khalifah back home.
Edited by Hibba Turrauf and Ayesha Malik