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
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaba (the supreme head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Successor of the Promised Messiahas) undertook a historic trip to the West Coast of the United States for the first time. As part of his ten-day visit, His Holiness met with various federal, state and city officials, members of law enforcement, and heads of different consulates, thought leaders, professors and other dignitaries. On May 11, His Holiness delivered a keynote address at the Montage, Beverly Hills on Islam, terrorism and human rights.
An important reason for such visits by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba is to strengthen and consolidate the spiritual foundations of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His tours see His Holiness leading congregational prayers, giving various sermons and granting many private audiences with thousands of Ahmadi men, women and children. Such private audiences (referred to as Mulaqaat) are perceived as deeply spiritual and emotional moments wherein Ahmadis are able to seek advice on personal matters, and request support and prayers from their revered and beloved leader.
While an electoral process exists for the selection of each new Khalifah, Ahmadis believe that each Khalifah is Divinely chosen and appointed to lead the Community. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V’saba visit to the West Coast was replete with awe-inspiring and heart-warming incidents from hundreds of devotees who travelled far and wide (some undertaking journeys of nearly 3000 miles) to be able to partake in the blessed company of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba, and offer Friday (Jummah) prayers behind him.
The following is part II of a two-part series on the tour.
9th May 2013
After offering the early morning prayers in congregation, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended to his wide and varied official commitments as the leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, whose members run into tens of millions.
After offering afternoon prayers in congregation, and following a private audience with 93 Ahmadis from 23 families this afternoon, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over a meeting wherein female college and university students presented their research projects.
One student shared results from her research on climate change and its impact on public health, in particular on underprivileged populations in the rural United States. She apprised the audience how human access to clean air, water, secure dwellings and a safe work environment were categorised as fundamental human rights.
Another student presented her research findings on the prevalence and management of post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers returning from combat. She spelt out various techniques used in order to facilitate such soldiers to reintegrate into community life by enhancing their interactions with civilians.
A student originally from Ghana presented her research on the concept of enhanced oil recovery with polymer flooding. This technique improves the yield of crude oil and has a minimal impact on the environment. His Holiness prayed that the discovery of oil improves the wealth of the country and that it does not end up in the hands of corrupt elements. His Holiness expressed concern that Ghana uses only 30% of oil extracted in the country, while the rest is exported.
Following these presentations, a presentation was made summarising the challenges of getting into medical school in the U.S. Along with excellent grades, various extra-curricular activities, research experience and voluntary work experience form part of the entrance requirements for medical school. The academic training lasts 4 years, followed by a 3-year residency and a required exit examination before they can become practising physicians.
At the conclusion of all presentations, a question-and-answer session was held. In response to a question, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that well-educated Ahmadi women should endeavour to publish articles in newspapers explaining the general thrust of Islamic teachings in a clear and comprehensive manner, with special emphasis being placed on addressing controversial issues. By way of example, His Holiness underscored that the subject of war and Islam’s sanction to use weapons in certain circumstances needs to be espoused and explained in light of the Quran, which devotes 190 verses to the subject (the Bible in comparison contains 500 verses on the matter).
His Holiness advised Waqf-e-Nau girls (youth who want to dedicate their lives wholly to the service of the Community) against pursuing the legal profession. However, he added that while it was not advisable for other Ahmadi girls to go into the field of criminal law, they could train as lawyers specialising in human rights or family law such that they are able to help poor women. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba underlined architecture as a respectable profession for women wherein they could exploit their strong sense of aesthetics and render their services to the Community.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that the interaction between Ahmadi male and female students, when working together for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association, should subscribe to an Islamic framework, with communications being limited to business matters only. His Holiness cautioned that these interactions should not be taken to the level of friendship. Ahmadi students may engage in academic discussions with each other and assist one another in studies if required. However, they must always exercise a level of decorum and avoid unnecessary exposure to male colleagues. The guiding principle, His Holiness espoused, is to treat male students as colleagues and not as friends.
In response to a question regarding external perceptions with respect to Ahmadi ladies being forced to wear the Hijab (a term used to refer to the Muslim headscarf worn by women), His Holiness advised that it was up to Ahmadi women and girls to manage such public perceptions associated with the Hijab. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba enumerated that a woman’s disposition whilst wearing the Hijab remained fundamental to tempering these perceptions–i.e., a woman who appears cheerful and contented portrays the Hijab as a positive externality whilst women appearing miserable and uncomfortable create an opposite effect leading to skewed perspectives being developed by society.
At the conclusion of this class, His Holiness led the Ameen (a celebration of the first complete reading of the Qur’an by a child) ceremony of 23 Ahmadi children, following which he led the late evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence.
The Los Angeles Times published an interview with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba titled, “Global Voices: Ahmadis’ mission of peace in an age of terror.”2 After a brief introduction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness rendered candid responses to questions regarding, amongst other things, jihad and terrorism, and clarified many misunderstandings. The following is a summary of the salient points from the interview:
His Holiness apprised the interviewer of the “Muslims for Life” campaign run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community dedicated to collecting blood for local communities, and which raises several thousand pints of blood in memory of the victims of 9/11 every year.
The controversial issue of religion and politics was also broached and with respect to the situation in Syria, His Holiness highlighted the importance of the suggestion made by Shimon Peres (the Prime Minister of Israel) in galvanising an Arab-only Peace Force in order to resolve this Israel-Palestine conflict.
His Holiness rendered an explanation of the differences between Ahmadi Muslims and other Muslim sects, and explained in detail the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan.
He highlighted that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was progressively expanding in Africa.
His Holiness expressed confidence in Islam’s ability to win over the hearts of Western nations, saying that if the current generation of westerners do not accept Ahmadiyyat, their next generations certainly will.
10th May 2013
After leading the early morning prayers in congregation, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent the morning attending to his official duties. This was a historical day as the Friday sermon delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was relayed live from the West Coast of the United States to the entire world for the first time. A Bai’at (formal initiation into the Community) ceremony followed the Friday sermon.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba graciously found time in his busy schedule to watch the final moments of a basketball match between two Ahmadi youth teams and planted an olive tree on the grounds of the Mosque complex to commemorate his historic visit. Later 162 members from 43 Ahmadi families had the honour of receiving a private audience with His Holiness, following which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over an Ameen ceremony for 33 children. Before retiring to his residence, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the congregational evening prayers.
11th May 2013
After attending to his official commitments in the morning, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended a Global Peace Lunch reception arranged in his honour at the Beverly Hills Montage Hotel. The details of His Holiness’s speech have been documented previously.3
His Holiness spent the rest of the afternoon visiting the Getty Center Museum. The museum houses a large collection of fine art pieces from Europe and America, and contains a study centre on the history of fine art dating back to the ancient Greek, Roman and Etrurian cultures. The Getty Research Institute forms part of the museum and is dedicated to furthering the knowledge and understanding of the visual arts. His Holiness visited different parts of the museum accompanied by a tour guide and was able to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city from the apex of the museum.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba travelled to the Bait-us-Salam Mosque situated southwest of Los Angeles to lead the congregational afternoon prayers, following which His Holiness met with local Ahmadis. One African-American Ahmadi related a dream he had seen wherein he saw Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba in the Bait-us-Salam Mosque and someone asks him how one can find God? His Holiness responds by asking where would one go to look for fish? The questioner replies, to the sea. The dream continuing, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba asks the questioner, where would you go to search for a duck? The man replies, to a pond. His Holiness then addresses the questioner and says that if you wish to find God, then come to the mosque. After listening to this dream, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised the worshippers to focus and reflect on its message and strive in earnest to offer the five daily prayers in the Mosque.
During this visit, His Holiness also announced five Nikah (the reading of the Muslim contract of marriage) ceremonies. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba extended his well wishes to the families, praying for the new marriages to be long lasting, for all families to be nurturing towards one another and the marriages to be a role model for the next generation. His Holiness ate dinner at a relative’s home after leading the congregational evening prayers at the Bait-ul-Hameed Mosque.
12th May 2013
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba held meetings with Jama’at (Community) officials from the Marshall Islands responsible for proselytisation efforts in the Pacific islands of Micronesia, Kosrae and Kiribati, and granted a private audience to 264 members from 64 Ahmadi families. After leading the afternoon prayers in congregation, His Holiness met with a further 182 Ahmadis. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence.
13th May 2013
His Holiness travelled to Big Bear Lake this afternoon, a city in San Bernardino County, California, which is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. During his stay at Big Bear Lake, His Holiness was taken to the Lakefront Lodge and Resort Lagonita Lodge, the afternoon prayers being offered in the Lodge’s lawns. A local couple who had read His Holiness’s interview in the Los Angeles Times were delighted to have seen Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba and requested to have a picture taken with him. They expressed a deep sense of appreciation for the humility exuded by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba, which seemed to impress them. His Holiness undertook a pre-booked boat trip with his team into the surrounding mountain scenery, capturing the breathtaking natural beauty on his camera and gracing his team with pictures as well. His Holiness paid a visit to the captain’s cabin before the conclusion of the boat ride. Later that evening, His Holiness returned to the Bait-ul-Hameed Mosque, and led the congregational evening prayers before retiring to his residence.
14th May 2013
Following the conclusion of his official commitments in the morning, His Holiness travelled to Malibu, a beach community located in northwestern Los Angeles County, California. Afternoon prayers were offered in congregation in a local park following lunch, and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent the rest of the afternoon in the park engaged in an informal exchange of thoughts and ideas with his entourage.
His Holiness suggested that modern technological resources should be exploited to trace the progeny of early Ahmadis and establish connections with them, citing, by way of example, how the Community in New Zealand had traced the progeny of Professor Clement Wragge (a renowned meteorologist)–who had accepted Ahmadiyyat after meeting the Promised Messiahas in May 1908 in Lahore. In the UK, contact was established with the great-grandson of Mr. Henry Martin Clark4, to whom His Holiness graciously granted an audience. Moreover, in the UK, the grandson of Captain Douglas5 and the granddaughter of Thomas Piggott6 were also contacted. His Holiness also mentioned an Australian by the name of Mr. Charles Francis Sievwright, who had accepted Ahmadiyyat at the hand of the Promised Messiahas in 1896. His Islamic name was Abdul Haq and he immigrated to the US and is buried here. The Missionary in Charge of the US reported that the grave of Abdul Haq Sahib has been traced, and the search for his progeny is progressing.
His Holiness espoused that Ahmadis should maintain a good working relationship with both the ruling and opposition parties of the country. His Holiness reiterated that it is perfectly acceptable for Ahmadi men to go into politics, drawing attention to existing Ahmadi politicians in Ghana. While His Holiness advised women to keep abreast with political developments and news, he is not in favour of women entering mainstream politics.
His Holiness directed a young economist to undertake research in Islamic banking and finance.
His Holiness revealed that he is interested in farming owing to its beneficial nature for providing sustenance for man, and said that his favourite fruit is the mango.
His Holiness encouraged Ahmadi men to make earnest efforts to offer the five daily prayers in the mosque and should not limit their offering prayers in congregation to just once a week.
One member from the entourage narrated how in Vietnam students obtain academic excellence owing to their parents’ ritual of making them devote their evenings to studies rather than to watching television or browsing the internet. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that this was aligned with Islamic principles that encourage children to return home at Maghrib (dusk) prayers and focus on their schoolwork.
His Holiness encouraged architects in Canada to come up with designs for the construction of new mosques.
Doctors were directed to commit to Waqfe-Aarzee (temporary period of service to the Community) in Rabwah and Qadian and render their much-needed services in these places.
His Holiness advised parents to inculcate good values and the habit of being regular in prayers and the recitation of the Holy Qur’an in their children through leading by example, with kindness and affection.
If a suitable match was found for an Ahmadi girl during her education, His Holiness advised that it is best to accept the proposal, and the families through mutual agreement could always arrange for the girl to continue with her education after marriage.
It was acceptable for children to watch movies at home under the supervision of their parents, who must ensure that children appreciate and understand the distinction between right and wrong.
One member remarked that some girls are taunted for being oppressed for being unable to wear shorts during the summer months. His Holiness advised parents to invest time and energy in making their children understand the philosophy of Islamic teachings. His Holiness enumerated the virtues of making girls aware of their sense of modesty from a young age (with girls above 5 being made to avoid dresses without tights), which will equip them with a strong moral foundation for adulthood.
His Holiness returned to the Bait-ul-Hameed Mosque later that evening, and following a short break, he met with local Community workers for a group photo. After leading the congregational evening prayers, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent a few moments in the ladies’ section and affectionately met various children before retiring to his residence.
15th May 2013
Following his official commitments in the morning, His Holiness bade farewell to the Ahmadiyya Community in Los Angeles, which had gathered in large crowds to say goodbye to their revered leader. After leading a long and heartfelt silent prayer, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba left Los Angeles for Vancouver, Canada.
In summation, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V’saba trip to the West Coast of the United States saw the realisation of the Divine Prophecy revealed to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, “A King arrived.” The spiritual King of today traversed the globe to impart the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to the world. The widespread public appreciation for his message will herald the triumph of Islam in the near future, Inshallah (God-willing).
Edited by Hibba Turrauf and Ayesha Malik
1. There is no God but Allah and Mohammadsa is His Messenger (The Muslim Creed)
3. See the July 2013 edition of The Review of Religions.
4. An infamous case was filed against the Promised Messiahas by a priest named Henry Martin Clark in order to avenge the defeat of Christians at the hands of the Promised Messiahas in a debate. The Promised Messiah’sas book Jang e Moqaddas gives a detailed account of this while his book Kitab ul Bariyyah relates the false court case for murder that Martin Clark had filed.
5. The Promised Messiahas was honourably acquitted of the above accusations by the judge at the time, Captain Douglas. Dr. Martin Clark was humiliated in the court case and the judge informed the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that he could sue him.
6. A false claimant of being God and Messiah, who was challenged by the Promised Messiahas. http://reviewreligion.wpengine.com/5593/rev-john-hugh-smyth-pigott-his-claim-prophecy-and-end/