The Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, undertook a historic trip to Canada including Vancouver and Calgary, from 15th to 27th May 2013. His Holiness used this opportunity to raise awareness about the Islamic message of peace, unity, faith and loyalty. The objectives of the tours of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba are to consolidate and enhance the spiritual training of his followers by leading the five daily prayers and raising matters of importance during his Friday (Jummah) sermons. For Ahmadi Muslims, the highlight of this tour is the honour to have a personal meeting with His Holiness, known as a Mulaqaat. These precious few minutes are regarded as a highly spiritual, emotional and blessed event, during which Ahmadis seek advice on personal matters and the support and prayers of their revered leader. The following is part II of a two-part series of the tour.
20th May 2013
After leading the dawn prayers, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent some time attending to his official post and duties. This was followed by Mulaqaat: 126 members of 65 families had the honour of a Mulaqaat with His Holiness. Two new converts took the Bai’at (formal initiation into the Community) during this session. Thereafter, His Holiness led afternoon prayers. After a short break, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over a Waqf-e-Nau class (a class of youth who have pledged to dedicate their lives wholly to the service of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in other words, true Islam) at the Baitur Rahman Mosque. Presentations were given regarding the responsibility of Ahmadi girls (particularly Waqifaate-e-Nau), followed by a candid question and answer session. His Holiness explained that the meaning of the Divine revelation engraved on one of his rings “Maula Buss,” is that the ultimate power is God and everything emanates from Him. His Holiness added concerning the second ring that he wears as the Khalifatul Masih; the Divine revelation engraved on this ring is, “Is Allah not sufficient for his servant?” Both these rings actually belonged to the Promised Messiahas.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba detailed that in 1984, an ordinance was passed in Pakistan which effectively stopped Ahmadis from practising as Muslims. After the ordinance was implemented, it was feared that Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh, Fourth worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, could be arrested for even attempting to deliver a Friday sermon. Therefore, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh was compelled to leave Pakistan in order to continue his responsibilities as the Head of the Community. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh possessd a visa for the UK at the time and consequently travelled to England. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaba, present worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, said that it is practical to reside in London as the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community; the time difference between different parts of the world and the UK is such that one can communicate with most countries during the day. After the conclusion of the class, 96 people were given the blessed opportunity of a Mulaqaat with His Holiness.
Later, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba conducted a class of Ahmadi boys (specifically Waqifeen-e-Nau). After presentations by the youths on various topics, a question-and-answer session followed. His Holiness explained that if no one else is available, an Ahmadi man should offer the funeral prayers for a non-Ahmadi Muslim. Ahmadis follow the teaching that any individual who declares the Kalimah (the Muslim declaration of faith), should not be buried without a Muslim Funeral. His Holiness addressed questions relating to genetic engineering, cloning, Jinn, global peace, the role of young Ahmadis in preaching, smoking cigarettes. The philosophy behind the prohibition of marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man and Iblis, were also covered.
This class ended at 9:45pm. Thereafter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba graciously led an Ameen ceremony (upon the completion of the first reading of the Holy Qur’an), and led the evening prayers in congregation, before retiring to his residence.
21st May 2013
After attending to his official commitments in the morning, His Holiness left his residence to spend the day with his family in a local area of beauty in British Columbia, called Whistler. Afternoon prayers were offered at the Fairmont Chateau, Whistler. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba arrived back in Vancouver in the evening and led the evening prayers in congregation, before retiring to his residence.
22nd May 2013
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent the morning attending to his wide and varied official duties, after which he led the afternoon prayers in congregation. His Holiness was to leave Vancouver for Calgary; it was an emotional occasion for hundreds of dedicated followers, who gathered in the courtyard of the Baitur Rahman Mosque. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the silent prayers and bade farewell to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Vancouver. He then left for the airport to travel to Calgary with a full police escort. Boarding cards were especially designed for this flight bearing the picture of the Minaratul Masih – the white Minaret in Qadian, expressing the words, “Welcome to Canada Huzur.” Upon arrival in Calgary, His Holiness was greeted by office-holders of the Ahmadiyya Community, four Members of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly (MLAs), and by Calgary’s Deputy-Mayor, Ray Jones. His Holiness and his entourage were given a ten-car police escort to the Baitun Noor Mosque (the largest Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque in North America).
The Ahmadiyya Community was established in Calgary in 1977 and the first Salat (prayer) Centre in 1978. Now by the Grace of Allah Almighty, the Ahmadiyya Community in Calgary has an enormous Mosque Complex, Baitun Noor, which was inaugurated in 2008. His Holiness arrived at the Mosque just before 8pm and was greeted by more than 1600 Ahmadi Muslim men, women and children, who were all overjoyed to see their spiritual leader.
In the evening, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba held a meeting with the members of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly at Baitun Noor Mosque. During the meeting, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba strongly condemned the terrorist attack that had taken place earlier that day in London. His Holiness said, “It had nothing to do with the real teachings of Islam,” and that “Islam is a religion of peace.”
His Holiness expressed concern at the deterioration of the situation in the name of democracy in Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. His Holiness presented signed copies of his book World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace to the three dignitaries.
In the evening, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba visited the Mosque complex and met local Ahmadis. His Holiness advised that holding Open Days at Jami’ah (a theological institute for training missionaries), would enable those with a desire to attend Jami’ah to make an informed decision. His Holiness encouraged those interested in Jami’ah to become less focussed on fashion, such as applying gel to their hair. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised a young man wearing hair gel that gel makes one’s hair fall out anyway!
After leading the evening prayers in congregation, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba retired to his residence.
23rd May 2013
After leading the dawn prayers in the Baitun Noor Mosque, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended to his wide and varied official commitments. His Holiness led the afternoon prayers in congregation at 2pm and continued with his official duties. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba granted a Mulaqaat to 225 members in one session starting at 6.15 pm. After this, His Holiness presided over an Ameen ceremony of 38 children; this was followed by evening congregational prayers. Thereafter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba retired to his residence.
24th May 2013
His Holiness led the dawn prayers in congregation and thereafter spent the morning attending to his wide-ranging administrative duties. At 2pm, His Holiness delivered a Friday sermon that was relayed live worldwide through MTA International (the satellite channel of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community). The Friday sermon was attended by approximately 3000 worshippers, who travelled thousands of kilometres in order to offer Friday prayers behind Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba. In his sermon, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained the importance of Khilafat; the 27th of May is celebrated as “Khilafat Day” amongst the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. After leading the congregational prayers, His Holiness led an international Bai’at ceremony, where 12 people from five different nations, were enabled to take the oath of allegiance at the blessed hand of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba.
His Holiness was then interviewed by Ms. Carolyn Dunn from CBC television station. Ms. Dunn has a strong background in journalism and has previous experience of covering news from Libya and Afghanistan. The salient points of this interview are summarised below.
His Holiness thanked the Canadian Government for inaugurating the Office of Religious Freedom from the Mosque in Calgary.
His Holiness gave a brief summary of the persecution of Ahmadis, which occurs worldwide but is particularly prevalent in Pakistan. In 1974, the then Prime Minister declared Ahmadis non-Muslims; in 1984 General Zia took this persecution further and declared that according to the law and constitution, Ahmadis cannot follow Islamic religious practices and customs, as Muslims.
His Holiness expressed gratitude that despite severe opposition and oppression, thousands of people accept Ahmadiyyat – the true Islam, every year.
His Holiness explained that we believe that the reformer of the latter days has arrived as Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian. His Holiness explained the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa, that in the latter days the moral state of Muslims will deteriorate and they will not follow the true teachings of Islam.
His Holiness explained that our objective is to convey the peaceful and truthful message of Islam to every person on earth; it is then an individual’s choice if they accept this message or not.
Reiterating the commitment of Ahmadis to peace, His Holiness explained that last year the ‘Muslims for life’ campaign collected 10,000 units of blood; and this year the campaign aims to collect 25,000 units. Through marathon walks, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community raised more than £300,000 for good causes and different charities.
His Holiness explained to the reporter that he is doing his best through his addresses to invite the world to the passage of peace. His Holiness explained that Ahmadis are a religious Community and have no practical powers or ambitions. We strive to establish international peace.
At 6:30pm Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba chaired a session with students pursuing higher education. His Holiness advised young ladies to wear a headscarf in their schools and universities. His Holiness gave examples of highly educated and intellectual Ahmadi ladies, who are able to carry out ground-breaking research while adhering to the commandment of Purdah (covering/maintaining modesty).
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that the main purpose of the creation of human beings is to worship God, and the effort to comprehend God is in fact an act of worship. It is important for Ahmadi students to seek an understanding of the intellectual capacity of the human brain and challenge the existing misguided concepts. With the advances in research in mathematics and theoretical physics, Ahmadi students should aim to prove the existence of God. This class was immediately followed by a class with male students of higher education. Presentations were made by these bright and talented researchers after which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that every student should read the book Life of Mohammad, which would empower them to respond effectively to any critics of Islam and the Prophetsa.
An open question-and-answer session followed. Topics included the financial system of Islam, mortgages, the ultimate peace of mind, how to raise awareness about the true status of the Holy Prophetsa and marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man. His Holiness graciously answered questions about his education and training. His Holiness said that he was an average student and worked very hard and sought support courses in the University to attain good grades.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that the books of the Promised Messiahas written before the 1900’s were primarily aimed at religious scholars, to clarify deep religious concepts; these books may be generally more challenging to follow. However, the intended readership for books published after 1900, were the general public. Therefore, these books are relatively easy for everyone to follow. The Promised Messiahas has instructed us that his book Haqitatul Wahi should be read at least three times. If students today learn the concepts and subject matter of this book, they will be able to effectively challenge any criticism against Islam.
In response to a question about Shariah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba elucidated that the Shariah law cannot be imposed on non-Muslim countries. There is no need to raise questions about the Shariah law in countries where human rights are protected by law, where the public has access to basic amenities of life and governments are committed to fairness. His Holiness continued to say that in Afghanistan in the name of Shariah, people carry out the most callous atrocities against each other, they mistreat their women and corruption is rife. This is not Islam!
After the conclusion of the class, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba granted a Mulaqaat to 75 people of 16 families. Later, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba retired to his residence.
After leading the dawn prayers and attending to his official commitments, His Holiness held a Mulaqaat with 265 members. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba then proceeded to the Lajna (women and girls aged over 15) Hall, where members expressed their devotion and commitment to Islam by singing short poems and anthems. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba encouraged the members from Saskatoon to focus on building a Mosque in their town. One member asked Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba about the routine of his day; the fascinating account of a day packed with prayers, recitation and study of the Holy Qur’an, administrative duties and official meetings, as well as private study and family time, is summarised below.
“His Holiness wakes up before dawn for Tahajjud (predawn) prayers and dedicates some time to the recitation of several pages of the Holy Qur’an. After Breakfast, His Holiness goes to His office where he holds meetings with the officers of the Jama’at, checks reports and gives directions accordingly, and attends to other administrative matters. His Holiness takes lunch after the afternoon prayers followed by a rest of about 30 minutes. Returning to his office, His Holiness looks through the post from all over the world, letters from Ameers (National Presidents of the Community) of various countries, the updates from the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya (Executive Body), Tahrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid offices and letters from Qadian. The session of the Mulaqaat generally lasts for one and a half hours and this is followed by the evening meal. Thereafter, His Holiness spends some time with his family guests and returns back to his office to go through his official and private letters, faxes, and emails. His Holiness reads newspapers, books and magazines for some time before going to sleep for a few hours.”
A short question-and-answer session followed where the following points were raised:
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba encouraged volunteers to adopt the routine of self-reflection and identify areas of self-improvement.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said that it is his responsibility to try and reform any weakness in the members of the Jama’at; Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said that he finds it hard to point out the failings of Ahmadis, but it is his role to enhance the character and conduct of Ahmadis.
The role of the Khalifatul Masih is to reform Ahmadis in such a way that their deeds and conduct are in accordance with the expectations of the Promised Messiahas.
His Holiness encouraged volunteers to aim to dedicate 2 hours a day for the services of Jama’at.
His Holiness gave direction about the process of Hifz (learning the Holy Qur’an by heart).
His Holiness encouraged the girls to wear head scarves regularly. His Holiness said that Ahmadi girls are free to wear jeans if they desire and that the best Islamic practice is to wear a knee-length top instead of a standard size T-shirt.
After the conclusion of the session, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the afternoon prayers before taking a short break in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was interviewed by a number of journalists from newspapers and the electronic media; His Holiness openly answered questions about the Islamic point of view on matters of world peace. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that the purpose of his visits to different parts of the world is to meet members of the Ahmadiyya Community and to learn more about them. His Holiness espoused that as the Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, it is his responsibility to oversee the enhancement of the spiritual attainment of the Community. His Holiness summed up the purpose of his visit by saying, “When I meet members of my Community I listen to their problems and do my best to resolve their concerns. Whenever I meet those who are not from my Community I promote the message of peace.”
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba highlighted the persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
His Holiness underscored the blatantly unfair anti-Ahmadiyya laws in Pakistan, which have led to the oppression of Ahmadis in other Muslim countries.
In response to a question, His Holiness said that the recent event of terrorism in the name of Islam makes it more challenging for us to do our job; however, it is our aim and purpose to promote the development of peace in the world.
His Holiness strongly condemned the murder of a soldier from Woolwich barracks and stressed again that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community stands against any acts of terrorism.
His Holiness explained that any act of terrorism is against the true teachings of Islam. Islam teaches that the murder of one person is like the murder of the entire humanity. Given these teachings, it is not justified to say that Islam condones the practices of terrorism.
His Holiness reiterated his endeavour to present the true picture of Islam to the whole world. His Holiness said that his role was to take the true Islamic message of peace, unity, faith and loyalty everywhere. In every forum he conveys the true message of the Holy Qur’an.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba met the Mayor of Calgary, Mr. Naheed Nenshi, and discussed matters of mutual interest. His Holiness thanked Mr. Nenshi for his kind comments that Ahmadis integrate well with the local community. A short question-and-answer session followed.
In response to a question, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said that terrorism can only be overcome if the true teachings of Islam are known to all. We all have a responsibility to appreciate the true teachings given in the Holy Qur’an and to learn about the true character of the Holy Prophetsa. To fight terrorism is a long process and it is important that absolute justice prevails.
His Holiness said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at will continue to convey the true message of Islam to the world. If not this generation, then the next generation of the people of the West, will accept Islam.
His Holiness expressed that the anti-Ahmadiyya laws in the Pakistani constitution are almost impossible to change now. His Holiness said that in order to promote peace, religious rights and freedoms should be granted to all communities in Pakistan.
At the end of the meeting, His Holiness presented Mr. Nenshi with his book, World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace.
In the early evening, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led a class with the Waqifeen-e-Nau girls. During the class Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba commented on topics such as Khilafat, higher education, purdah, the philosophy of combining afternoon and evening prayers, treatment of women prisoners of wars, the honour and respect of women and the reformation of this world after the advent of the Promised Messiahas. The class finished at 7:30pm.
This was followed by a class with the Waqf-e-Nau boys. After presentations, the question-and-answer session commenced. The session covered the following points.
The signs of the truth of the Promised Messiahas from the Holy Qur’an.
The prophecy of an abundance of literature and books and the Divine signs of the solar and lunar eclipses.
The concept of Dajjal (Anti-Christ).
Career choices; missionary training.
Student loans and the best form of preaching.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba detailed the system of electing a new Khalifah. Members of the Electoral College elect the new Khalifah; it is the Ahmadiyya Muslim belief that these members are given Divine guidance, enabling them to make the right decision. His Holiness shared his own experience that after being elected Khalifah, for the initial 10 minutes he felt totally numb and unable to focus. Then God granted him peace and tranquillity. He comprehended that God was on his side and whatever he would do, would be blessed by God. His Holiness said that the tangible evidence of Divine support for his leadership, can be witnessed in the progress of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in the recent years.
Thereafter, 100 members of 18 families had the privilege of a Mulaqaat with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba, followed by congregational evening prayers. Most graciously His Holiness also announced three Nikah (the announcement of the Islamic contract of marriage) ceremonies. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba impressed on the newlyweds the Islamic teaching of ensuring that the marriage is based on truthfulness and Taqwa (righteousness). The secret to a successful marriage lies in being faithful and honest with one’s spouse. His Holiness expressed his best wishes that these new relationships be long-lasting and happy. After leading the silent prayers, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba retired to his residence.
26th May 2013
After the routine of the dawn prayers and attending to official paperwork, 213 people of 47 families had the honour to have a Mulaqaat with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba. His Holiness presided over an Ameen ceremony of 38 fortunate children; His Holiness was particularly pleased with the recitation skills of two brothers and commented that they have the potential to become missionaries. On the eve of his departure from Canada, His Holiness found time in his busy schedule to meet various volunteers working in the Mosque complex, office workers as well as catering staff in the kitchen. Later, 163 members of 32 families were granted a Mulaqaat with His Holiness. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba greeted the assembled crowd in the courtyard of the Mosque and retired to his residence after leading evening prayers in congregation.
27th May 2013
His Holiness left Calgary for London, via Chicago. It was an emotional and heartfelt farewell. Thousands of people had gathered in the mosque complex to enjoy the last minutes of the company of their beloved leader. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led a long and earnest silent prayer, before setting off for the Calgary Airport. Under full police escort, the motorcade of His Holiness travelled to the airport and boarded a flight to Chicago. After a short flight the holy convoy landed. There, after lunch, congregational afternoon prayers were offered in the special lounge. At the airport, His Holiness met with the dignitaries of the Ahmadiyya Community in Chicago and gave directions regarding the extension of the Baitus Sadiq Mosque, tracing of the families of initial Ahmadi converts and other matters pertaining to the Community, before boarding the flight to London. His Holiness arrived at Heathrow airport in the morning of 28th May 2013. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was affectionately welcomed by the devoted crowds gathered in the grounds of the Fazl Mosque, London.