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A Khadim’s Journey to Waqf

Serving in the Review of Religions

By Zubair Hayat - Serving in the Review of Religions
Published on June 1, 2021 at 11:49 pm

My journey to dedicating my life as a Waqf-e-Zindagi [life devotee]was almost bound to happen but unexpected at the same time. Growing up as a Waqf-e-Nau and knowing that my parents had dedicated my life before I was born made me feel special and different from the majority of my friends, but it also came with huge expectations that stayed with me during school and college. Whilst everyone was hanging out with friends, going to parties, mixing with boys and girls, I had this underlying responsibility to not follow the trend because I knew the Jama’at had something bigger for me to accomplish in the future. Not knowing what that would be, I still kept focus on my own goals and avoided chasing anything that would lead me away from my targets and I limited myself to always keeping the picture of Waqf at the forefront of my mind. I remember when I was in college, at the age of 17, I was blessed to have a mulaqat with Huzooraba where I asked for his guidance on the career I should pursue and the course I should study at university. I was surprised because a lot of my family and friends expected me to do Medicine, Law or go to Jamia but in the mulaqat, Huzooraba asked me what subjects I’m interested in or good at. I mentioned to Huzooraba that the subject I am best at and got the best grades in was English Literature and to my surprise Huzooraba said to do that as an undergraduate degree then a Masters in the same subject. When Huzooraba said  that, I felt a massive weight off my shoulder because it was something I wanted to do myself and now that Huzooraba had also told me that I should do it, I felt contentment and the drive to succeed in it.

A real turning point occurred in the final year of my undergraduate degree where I failed one coursework module and had to resit in the summer. The course instructors told me that I had to pass the resit otherwise I would not be able to resit the module again and would most likely need to retake the year. I was extremely nervous not only because I would waste a year but also because I felt I would be letting Huzooraba and my family down who had high expectations for me as a Waqf-e-Nau. One night I was especially nervous about passing and I prayed to God and begged Him to allow me to pass this module and my degree, and I said that, if that happened, I would somehow dedicate my life to the Jama’at and not pursue any other career or job. After the prayer I felt that I had really tried to leave it up to God and hoped that something would happen where I would finally pass this degree. I remember when the results came in September, I opened my laptop to see the grades online and it said I passed.

My family were happy and celebrating, but I knew because of that prayer God had done it for me and when I really needed help and support, He gave it to me. So I had it in my mind to now dedicate my life to His service. After my degree I applied for the Masters course at the same university and got in and that was much easier to finish because I was more mature and able to take the initiative in my work. After that year I remember I had just finished the course and was at Fazl Mosque in London and Amer Safir (Chief Editor of Review of Religions) met me randomly, when I was just about to leave the Mosque to go home. He asked me what I was studying and what plans I had for the future and added “Have you ever thought about working for the Jama’at or doing Waqf?” I said that I was already a Waqf-e-Nau but I had been thinking about serving the Jama’at in some way. He said he thought I would be useful in the Review of Religions because I did English Literature and he said he would write to Huzooraba about it. Surprisingly, he called me a few days later saying Huzooraba has asked to see me about Waqf, and that time I was shocked as I didn’t expect it to move that quickly. But I went to the mulaqat and, remembering the promise I made to God to serve the Jama’at, I opened my mind to whatever Huzooraba would want me to do. In the mulaqat Huzooraba directly said to me that being a Waqf-e-Zindagi is not like any other job in the world and doesn’t pay much, and whether I was ready for that. I said “Yes Huzooraba I am ready.” He said “Okay fill in the paperwork and start in the Review of Religions”. Completely surprised, a few days later I was serving in the Review of Religions under the guidance of Huzooraba and I felt my focus and dedication to serving the Jama’at came true in a way I would have never expected.

I have been serving as a Waqf-e-Zindagi for the past 8 years, and it has been extremely rewarding, fulfilling and challenging, which is in line with my own nature, and what I wanted out of life. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to different countries like America, Canada and around Europe to make content for the Magazine and to push the message of the Promised Messiahas to the West. We are constantly trying to push the boundaries and set the trends in what the world consumes, and putting out the message of Ahmadiyyat in new and innovative ways that is easily digestible to young and old. Using platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, we are engaging people in ways that have never been done before like social experiments, podcasts, talk shows and seminars. Combining this with writing articles on Islamic issues and addressing misconceptions people have about my faith keeps me on my toes with current world events and political changes. I have had to increase my ability to learn new software, skills and also increase my stamina to work and think creatively so that the team and myself can best serve the world with the message of Islam.

There is hardly a day off because there is always more work to do but living life with a purpose and passion is more fun than living a life of mediocrity. I feel like my inclination to the Jama’at has helped me to find my purpose in life, and also my attachment to Khilafat has lead me along this path where I can serve my faith and create a stronger connection with God by serving Him and His creation every day of my life.


Shahid Diaries – Sarfraz Bajwa

A Murabbi narrates anecdotes from staying in Islamabad during the pandemic

Huzooraba took a lot of care of us while we were here, down to the smallest details. During one class he began asking us how the food is. A few students said it’s normal Langar food: Daal, Aloo Gosht and occasionally pasta. I had been craving buttered chicken for the past week so I jokingly asked Huzooraba if we could have buttered chicken. Huzooraba laughed and jokingly said there was a lot of fat in butter which was not good for my health. I jokingly replied that I would have less butter and more chicken. Huzooraba laughed but said he agreed that they should make food that everyone wants to eat so that people do not feel the urge to go out and get fast food since going outside into public places and restaurants was a risk due to COVID-19. I thought that that was the end of that.

The day after that class Huzooraba came for Asr prayer as usual. However, after prayers he came outside into Masroor Hall where our class was staying. He came and inspected our beds and sleeping area. As we had just moved in not to long before, many of us still had their clothes in their suitcases. I had recently ordered quite a few things online and they were scattered all over my bed and my area. I was not next to my bed so Huzooraba asked one of my classmates whose bed this was to which he replied it was Sarfraz’s bed. Huzooraba said that it was very messy and then continued to the rest of the beds. He noticed that most of us were living out of our suitcases so he instructed Sadr Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to get some sort of cupboards to put our clothes in. Then Huzooraba made his way to the kitchen and the first thing Huzooraba said to the chefs as soon as he walked in was “Aap ko buttered chicken banana ata hai?” [Do you know how to make buttered chicken?] The chefs were startled at this question and said yes and instantly began reciting the recipe for buttered chicken and describing how it was made. Huzooraba laughed and said that they should make it then. When I asked Huzooraba if we could have buttered chicken, I said it as a joke just to make Huzooraba laugh. I could not have imagined Huzooraba would come out, go to the kitchen and tell the chefs to make it for us! I realised how much love and attention Huzooraba was showing us.

Two days later the cupboards arrived and we set up our areas. That day Huzooraba came out again to inspect our sleeping area. I had tidied up and sorted my things away neatly, so I was looking forward to Huzooraba seeing the difference. But Huzooraba only inspected the area on the other side of the hall briefly before going back inside. I didn’t think too much about this until the next class when Huzooraba asked me if I had tidied my area. I said that I had. Huzooraba said it was quite unorganised last time. I explained that I had ordered a few things online and just left them lying around to open later. But I had packed them all away in the cupboards Huzooraba had gotten us. Huzooraba said “main doosri dafa tumhari jagah peh nahi aya taakeh tumhai yeh na lage ke main baar baar chaapah maarne aajata hoon” [I did not inspect your area the second time in case you start feeling like I have come to raid your area.] I laughed and said that I had organised everything in the cupboard. This was a beautiful example of Huzoor’saba compassion, he did not want me to feel embarrassed in case I had not yet been able to tidy up.

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The Sermon that Brought Khuddamul Ahmadiyya into Existence

1938 marks the year of the establishment of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra, The Promised Son. Initially, its aim was to encourage young individuals to serve the Jama’at. However, today its impact can be felt in hundreds of countries with thousands of members actively working in various roles in the Jama’at.

On 1 April 1938, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra presented the idea of forming Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to the community. Throughout the speech he stressed the need to reform the youth. He explained how this organisation would need to work to properly achieve its goal. He also mentioned the many advantages of this organisation, what it can contribute to the Jama’at and how it will nurture and develop the minds of young individuals. He said:

“I have frequently reminded the Jama’at that a nation cannot be reformed without reforming its youth. If the new generations are devoid of faith and the principles established by Allah the Almighty through His Prophets, the nation cannot develop and take a step forward. Of course, development will happen, but it will happen and stop, or it will prosper, but then hardships will occur. This way, it will rise and fall like the mountains. But hardships are not a good thing, rather they are bad, and should be dealt with as fast as possible. Thus, it is clear that [especially in this era] without proper training, one cannot deliver the true message of Islam to the world.

It is crucial to cultivate and improve the upbringing of children and women. If one wants to ensure the success of Tehrik-e-Jadid, then he needs to establish associations for young people just like there are for Lajna Imaillah. When this idea arose in some young individuals in Qadian, they set up an organisation named Khuddamul Ahmadiyya with my permission. As it is beneficial to work with people of a similar nature, I permitted them to include people with similar experiences. But I also urged them, if possible, to have other individuals and also to consider that those who join gain interest in helping. I advised not to include people who are learned scholars in the Jama’at. Due to this, some companions misunderstood and one missionary came to meet me and asked, ‘are you angry with me?’ I replied, ‘I am not. What gave you this idea that I am angry with you’. He said ‘I have been informed that you are not allowing me to join the ranks of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya’. To which I then replied, ‘This situation is not just for you, but for anyone who possesses special skills, they are prohibited from joining, and the reason for this is that if the elders are also permitted to join, this would result in only the elders being elected as president, the secretary etc. They would always accept the elder’s advicex and due to this, they will not think on their feet and would remain unintelligent.’ For example, if one joins any association or gathering, it would be natural to elect the Khalifatul-Masih as he holds the highest status with Allah, so he would be elected president. As a result, the training gained by working as a president will be neglected, and the Jama’at will be deprived of this experience.

Thus, I have especially advised them not to include intellectuals and scholars, so they can work and gain experience by doing things themselves. However, you can accommodate individuals of the second or third rank to gain interest in working and figure out how the Jama’at operates. I have noticed that so far, they have worked very hard and very well. I understand that if I had allowed missionaries like Maulvi Abul-Ata Allah Dita or Maulvi Jalaluddin Shams, or any missionary to join the organisation, any announcement that they have written so far would have been written by them. They would be the ones to have addressed any objection, and no young individuals would be aware of how they are being answered. Therefore, I stopped the missionaries from joining [Khuddamul Ahmadiyya]. Although I have said to ask for advice from [scholars], if you write anything, write it yourself, so you feel responsible for it even if you feel extremely worried. So, they read books and asked people regarding what ideas to address. After this, they wrote essays and reviewed them multiple times. But when they finally presented the articles, they were written brilliantly. I have realised that their articles are on par with other articles. Even if it takes them a month or two to produce something that people like me, who are well versed in writing, can produce in one or two hours without any aid: while it took them ten people working for a month to produce it but what resulted is that the spiritual knowledge hidden from their eyes appeared in front of them; they read and expanded their knowledge. If they continue this, many works of literature like the recorded books of Islam, commentary of Islamic texts, books of Ahadith, books of jurisprudence, the books of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas and many more like this will appear in front of them, and their souls will thrive with knowledge.”

Hazrat Musleh Maudra also emphasised that community branches outside of Qadian should also set up Khuddamul Ahmadiyya in their respective regions. He also advised on how each Khadim should act. He stated that “You should forget that anyone else in Qadian is left for this role. You should understand as if you are the only one who has been tasked with this responsibility, as one cannot call himself a true believer if he implies that this is my role and that is your role. A true believer is not one that chooses his responsibilities”.

Indeed, from this we learn that Khuddamul Ahmadiyya was formed with high expectations from the second Khalifah. It is when we understand our role as Khuddam that we can work towards fulfilling the grand task of reforming our youth.

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Connection with Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya

The Qaid of Dundee Qiadat shares his experience of Khilafat in relation to the acceptance of prayer

Khilafat is a divine source of guidance and being an Ahmadi Muslim I believe we are immensely fortunate to experience this on a day-to-day basis. Even though some of us cannot physically see our beloved Khalifah every day we still have a powerful spiritual connection with him.

Personally, I have experienced a connection with Khilafat in a variety of different ways. One example is the satisfaction and reward when you write to beloved Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba for prayers.

There are a multitude of examples that I can narrate on acceptance of prayers but the one I have selected is from the time when I moved to the UK and claimed asylum in order to escape persecution in Pakistan. During this initial period, I was moved to a detention centre where I was held for almost 5 weeks. The availability of a fax machine in the detention centre meant I wrote to beloved Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba for prayers every day. I had a great desire to attend my first ever Jalsa Salana UK and expressed this through various letters to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba.

For various reasons, the first detailed interview regarding my detention could not be completed in the initial meeting and it seemed very unlikely that I would be able to attend Jalsa Salana that year as it was a mere three weeks away. Despite this, I had faith and continued writing letters to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba daily.

After a long week, I was informed of the decision of my case – it was rejected. I was shocked, worried and mostly saddened that I will now definitely miss Jalsa Salana UK. At this point I increased the number of letters I sent to Huzooraba, sending him 2 letters a day. I appealed the decision and my court hearing was scheduled with just two weeks to go until Jalsa.

The day prior to my hearing, I phoned the Private Secretary’s office and requested if they can pass my request for special prayers to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba. I was interviewed in court for several hours. Once the judge was happy that she had all the necessary information, I was informed that due to her busy schedule she wouldn’t be able to give a decision on my case anytime soon. This meant that, even if within the next week there was a positive decision, I would still miss Jalsa Salana. I immediately wrote a letter to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba explaining the whole situation.

Early the next morning, my phone rang whilst I was still half asleep. It was a call from my solicitor in which he informed me that he had some good news. He had just received a fax from the Home Office that I had been granted Refugee status. I was in shock for a while because the news came so unexpectedly. My heart was full of praise to Allah for He had listened to the prayers of the Khalifah. To this day, it astounds me that I was the recipient of the blessings of those prayers.

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