Angels Echoing the Kalimah1 In the City of Angels
Historic Visit of Khalifah of the Promised Messiah to California
Original Urdu Reports by Abdul Majid Tahir
Translated by Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmicahel
The Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, undertook a historic trip to the West Coast of the United States for the first time. This was his third visit to the US. As part of his ten-day visit, His Holiness met with various federal, state and city officials, members of law enforcement, heads of consulates, thought leaders, professors and other dignitaries. On 11th May, His Holiness delivered a keynote address at the Montage in Beverly Hills on Islam, terrorism and human rights. The purpose of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba’s visit may be summed in the words of the National Vice President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA as follows, “His Holiness is gracing America with his presence at a time when many young American Muslims struggle with their identity, and by his example of compassion and tolerance, His Holiness demonstrates that no conflict exists between being Muslim and being American.”
The following is part I of a two-part series on the tour.
4th May 2013
Upon his arrival Los Angeles at 1.25 pm, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was received by various dignitaries of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at USA along with the Chief Immigration Supervisor of United Airlines, the Customer Services Manager and the Dignitary Protection Unit. The Honourable Lee Baca, Los Angeles County Sheriff, welcomed His Holiness and remarked that, “Our city is the best place in America for Muslims to live.” The Sheriff has travelled widely in South Asia and His Holiness invited him to visit Rabwah, Pakistan on his next trip to the region. Rabwah is the Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan. In welcoming His Holiness with a special City proclamation the Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, remarked, “Your Holiness, welcome to the city of angels—a fitting name on this historic day. Los Angeles is a melting pot for all religious and ethnic groups. We are honoured to host you.”
The arrival of His Holiness at the Baitul Hameed Mosque on Saturday afternoon was broadcast live nationwide, and to over 200 countries worldwide via the Internet. The Baitul Hameed Mosque was inaugurated in 1989 by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh, Fourth worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. It is a massive complex with praying facilities for more than a 1000 people, classrooms, offices, a library, a conference room, accommodation facilities including a guest house, along with a commercial sized kitchen and dining hall. The sprawling Mosque complex is also used by state and city officials as a temporary shelter during emergencies. It was after almost 19 years that a Khalifatul Masih had visited Los Angeles, and overwhelming feelings of happiness and joy beseiged the crowd of thousands of Ahmadis who had gathered at the Mosque to welcome their beloved Khalifah. Many families travelled more than 2000 miles to partake in this historic event. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba reciprocated this warm welcome by waving affectionately at the gathered devotees before proceeding to his residence. Later, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba led the congregational afternoon prayers, which were followed by an inspection of the Mosque complex and a meeting with the president of the Los Angeles Jama’at (who is also one of the National Vice Presidents of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community). At the conclusion of these meetings, His Holinessaba led the evening prayers in the Baitul Hameed Mosque before retiring to his residence.
The Ahmadi Muslims first arrived in Los Angeles in 1974, and have gradually grown into a robust community of 1500 devotees. A poignant reminder of God’s countless blessings on Ahmadiyya Jama’at in the USA is the history of the Jama’at’s humble beginnings in the 1920s, with the arrival of a revered companion of the Promised Messiahas, Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahibra, as the first missionary to the United States. Details of Mufti Sadiq’s awe-inspiring journey has been recorded in the The Review of Religions as follows:
“When his ship docked in Philadelphia, the U.S. Government refused his entry into America. After two months’ delay he was permitted to enter. His case was widely publicised and this exposure through media provided opportunities for preaching … In the beginning numerous hurdles were overcome with Allah’s help and his cheerfulness…. Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq was an exemplary Da’ee Ilallah (preacher). He walked on the roads and streets of America, and men and women, attracted by his personality and dress, would stop and say: ‘Look, Jesus Christ has come.’ This comment would usually serve as the starting point of preaching. Mufti Sahib would explain to the audience that he was not Jesusas but an ordinary servant of the Promised Messiahas. Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq successfully established centres of preaching in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago and conveyed the message of true Islam individually as well as collectively. He published articles in newspapers and reached people through advertisements and personal letters. He delivered lectures on Islam far and wide. He started the Journal The Muslim Sunrise in America and the first Ahmadiyya Mosque was constructed in Chicago during his blessed stay.”2
Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra, Second worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, referring to the Ahmadiyya Mission in America, once stated that it would ultimately triumph in the United States, and that one day the sound of the Kalimah (there is no God but Allah and Mohammadsa is Messenger) would echo throughout the country.
5th May 2013
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the morning prayers at 5.15am and thereafter spent the early half of the morning attending to his official duties. Thereafter, His Holiness spent the part of the morning attending to his official commitments; these commitments include responding to the official post about the activities of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community all over the world, inspecting reports, and issuing directives as well as responding to the private letters requesting of prayers from the members of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at (or Community). From 10:30 am Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba granted a private audience (Mulaqaat) to Ahmadi families. During Mulaqaat, families seek His Holiness’s advice and request him for prayers. His Holiness gave chocolates to visiting children and pens to young adults. Such blessed moments play a pivotal role in a family’s spiritual development. With a short break for offering the afternoon prayers, the session of family Mulaqaat continued until 8:15pm when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence.
6th May 2013
After leading the morning prayers in Baitul Hameed Mosque at 5.15am, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended to his official duties. At 10:30am, His Holinessaba granted a private audience to 59 families from the United States of America, which was an opportunity for them to request His Holiness for guidance and prayers. After attending lunch at the residence of a local dignitary, His Holiness retired to his residence for a short break, thereafter leading the afternoon prayers at 5:30pm at the Baitul Hameed Mosque. This evening, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba granted an audience to Ahmadi students studying in schools, colleges and universities across the USA. His Holiness advised that Ahmadi students must strive for attaining excellence and set their standards high by aiming for the Nobel Prize.
During this meeting, students completing their Ph.Ds had the opportunity to present their research work to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba. One student was undertaking research on the technology that can be used to make outer surface implants used within the human body last longer without the risk of infection and dislocation. On hearing that the cost of such treatments range from $11,000 to $130,000, His Holiness commented that it was a very expensive cure. Another student presented his research project on honeybees. He is investigating the impact of different viruses on the survival of the honeybee. He explained that the use of agricultural chemicals has adversely affected the population of honeybees. His Holiness asked if it was true that if one honeybee dies then all the other bees help to take the body of the bee out of the hive. The researcher explained that this was true, and that the organisational scheme inside a honey bee hive is extremely structured. The researcher mentioned that if too much honey is taken out of the hive, the bee colonies tend to decline during the winter months. It was also mentioned to His Holiness that signals from mobile phones and satellite television are adversely affecting the navigation skills of honey bees. The third Ph.D. student presented his research on the factors that make an organisation successful and aspects that make organisations fail. Afer these presentations, His Holiness granted the students with an opportunity to ask questions and was pleased with the intellectual level of the questions asked. One student inquired how they should protect themselves from the negative influences of society, to which His Holiness advised that they should say Istighfar (a prayer to seek repentance) and Lahawl (a prayer to seek the ability to do good). Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that they should adopt the good from society and discard vanity and evil. His Holiness stated that he had advised students in European countries to go into the field of research and seek opportunities for success within their respective fields. A student apprised His Holiness of the many challenges he was facing, at which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba encouraged him to never become despondent and stay completely focused on his studies. His Holiness prayed for his success. Following the conclusion of this meeting with students, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba granted a private audience to 112 members from 32 Ahmadi families. Thereafter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence.
7th May 2013
After leading the early morning prayers at Baitul Hameed Mosque, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended to his official duties. Later, he granted a private audience to 192 members from 55 Ahmadi families and met with some of his officials to issue directives. Thereafter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the afternoon prayers in congregation, following which His Holiness presided over a class with Waqf-e-Nau girls (youth who want to dedicate their lives wholly to the service of the Community). The class started at 5.40pm with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an and its English translation. The young ladies gave various well-researched presentations and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was pleased with the standard of speeches and Urdu language. When due to technical issues, the girls were unable to present some information about places of interest in the West Coast of the US, His Holiness remarked in a light-hearted manner that perhaps he ought to go and see these places in person! Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba emphasised that those training to become doctors and teachers may be sent to developing countries in order to serve the Community. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that these girls should be pious and should have true fear of God. They should offer the five obligatory daily prayers and regularly recite the Holy Qur’an. They must strive to attain a clear understanding of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and endeavour to make them a part of their lives. His Holiness stressed the importance of purdah (covering) and modest Islamic dress for women. and espoused that purdah entailed that hair and the lower part of the chin are covered. If a woman is wearing make-up, she should cover her face. His Holiness recommended medicine as the profession of choice for women. Other professions suitable for women His Holiness advised are teaching and languages so that girls can undertake translation projects for the Ahmadiyya Jama’at. At the conclusion of the class, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba distributed bags and chocolates among the girls and returned to his office to meet with Ahmadi families from the US. He granted 106 members from 32 families a private audience. Some of these families had travelled thousands of miles to partake in this blessed meeting. Following this session of Mulaqaat, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence.
This morning, His Holiness kindly agreed to an interview with a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, Tamara Audi.3 During this interview, His Holiness explained that the purpose of his journey to the United States was to meet the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and enhance their moral and spiritual education. By meeting with Ahmadi families from the US, and in particular their children, His Holiness is able to gauge specific areas that require special attention for the spiritual development of his Community. His Holiness candidly expressed his views on the integration of immigrants into society, the persecution of Ahmadis abroad, drone attacks and world peace. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba made it clear that he did not wish to request anything from the US Government for himself or his Community, stating that he was merely conveyor of peace. His Holiness expressed an interest in visiting local farms in keeping with his interest and training in agriculture. Following the interview, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba granted a private audience to many Ahmadi families from Phoenix, Boston, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, as well as Guatemala. After leading the midday prayers and a brief break Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over a class with Waqfe Nau boys. His Holiness was pleased with the standard of speeches. His Holiness explained in response to a question that the Divine Revelation of the Promised Messiahas, “after 11” had been fulfilled in favour of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in many ways. By way of example, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba espoused that the prophecy was fulfilled when the message of Ahmadiyyat was taken to US Capitol Hill with the Help and Blessings of Allah. The message of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been reported in many popular newspapers. His Holiness underscored that all this was unthinkable two years ago.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that the phrase “Kun Fayakun”4meant that once God Almighty has decided that an event shall take place, then a process is set in motion to enable it to occur. His Holiness illustrated this phenomenon by alluding to the process of birth – i.e. that once God decides that a baby shall be born, then systems and processes are put into play for that baby to develop inside the womb for 9 months prior to delivery. His Holiness underscored the need for prayers seeking guidance for the people of Pakistan and protection for our Ahmadi brethren in the country. His Holiness reiterated that the Ahmadiyya Jama’at needs the youth to train as missionaries, doctors, teachers and linguists. His Holiness advised that these youth must be regular in offering the five daily prayers and the recitation of the Holy Qur’an. He encouraged the boys to strive to acquire a deeper understanding of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an by reading its commentary regularly. His Holiness concluded by advising the youth to be exemplary in any capacity, striving to emulate the guidance furnished in the Holy Qur’an such that they may become a role model for others.
This class was followed by a meeting with a delegation from the Mormon Church, which was headed by the General Authority, Elder Craig Gordon. During this meeting, matters of mutual interest including the rendering of humanitarian services in Ghana and other African countries were discussed. His Holiness offered help, cooperation and technical assistance to Mormons for any of their altruistic projects in African countries. At the conclusion of this meeting, His Holiness thanked the delegates for their time who had travelled 1500 miles from the state of Utah for the meeting. More families were blessed with a private audience later that evening, some of which had travelled 3000 miles to seek a few moments of blessings, peace and prayers with their spiritual leader. At 8 pm, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation at Baitul Hameed Mosque before retiring to his residence.
Edited by Hibba Turrauf and Ayesha Malik
1. There is no God but Allah and Mohammadsa is His Messenger (The Muslim Creed)
4. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is. [3:48]