Ever since I was in year seven or eight, Huzooraba always used to call me “Dr Sahib”. At that time, I didn’t have the slightest inkling that I was going to become a doctor.
My dad is a dentist, so this could possibly have been a reason. However, for this to materialise is unbelievable and shows Huzoor’saba foresight and how Allah blesses his words. It also shows Huzoor’saba wishes for Waqifeen-e-Nau to be involved in professions where humanity can be served and people can be helped. I’m sure many of us have experienced ourselves or seen from classes when Waqifeen-e-Nau ask Huzooraba as to what they should go into, Huzooraba almost always states a field that can be useful for the Jama’at and humanity.
The Promised Messiahas says,
“Sincerity towards others and love for humanity is a part of faith. The definition of the ‘highest moral values’ is that sincere kindness and sympathy be professed towards all humanity without any expectation of reward or recompense. This is what is known as true humanity… Allah the Almighty never forsakes those people who hold within their hearts sincere love for humanity.”
This is what all of us should strive to achieve.
When I got to my first year of A-levels, I had a mulaqat with Huzooraba and asked his advice on what career I should pursue. I wasn’t too sure at the time and was thinking of doing something in finance or economics. Huzooraba said that if you are good at science then you should do Medicine. I said “I am good at Biology, but I don’t really enjoy Chemistry”. To this Huzooraba smiled and stated “Phir tumay Chemistry to parni paray gi” which meant “So then you will have to study Chemistry”.
When I got home, I reflected upon what had happened in the mulaqat and it soon sank in that, as Huzooraba had said it, I would have to study medicine.
My parents and I then had a discussion in the next few weeks, and we all came to the agreement that I should get some work experience to find out more about medicine. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to go to Tahir Heart Institute in Rabwah for a month in Ramadan. What I observed and experienced there was unbelievable. It was a state-of-the-art facility, one of the best hospitals I had seen. In addition, it had top specialists, junior doctors and various different health care staff who were all working together united under the banner of Khilafat to serve humanity for the sake of Allah the Almighty. This was the first time I had seen such a unique environment in a hospital.
Working alongside these specialists and junior doctors, and having the opportunity to talk to them regularly was extremely inspiring and motivating. It made me realise how much impact you can have as a medical professional, especially in conjunction with having Allah’s Blessings and Huzoor’saba prayers and guidance. I saw and spoke to many patients and the families of patients who had made miraculous recoveries, and this happened quite regularly at Tahir Heart. This combination of having a professional and academic yet spiritual environment—where doctors engage in prayers before procedures, where supplications and attributes of Allah such as Howa-Sha’afi “He is the healer” are framed around the walls of the hospital, where even non-Ahmadi maulvis come to seek treatment because they know the calibre and the integrity of Ahmadi healthcare professionals convinced me that I definitely wanted deen [religion] in my life going forward.
Coming back to the UK, I finished my A-levels, submitted my UCAS application and did the entrance exams, but I didn’t get into Medicine at the time. I was so upset and lost as to what I should do now.
After some time, my parents and I had a discussion and we looked into studying Medicine in Europe. We decided to go to Huzooraba to seek his advice and see what he thought about doing Medicine in Europe as at the time we only knew of one Ahmadi studying Medicine abroad.
I remember going into the mulaqat and explaining my situation to Huzooraba. Before I had even finished my sentence, Huzooraba said why don’t you look at doing Medicine abroad in Europe somewhere. We were all astonished at how Huzooraba knew even before we had asked him and were so grateful to Allah for His Khalifah who took away all the worries and anxiety we had. This again shows the wisdom and the judgement that Allah has blessed our beloved Huzooraba with and I’m sure most of us have experienced this in a mulaqat where Huzooraba answers our question and alleviates our anxiety even before we have asked him. This is why we’re so lucky to have Khilafat.
I did two entrance exams for universities in Czech Republic and asked Huzooraba about which university I should pick. Myself and two other Khuddam ended up being one of the first batches of Ahmadis in recent times to go to Europe to do Medicine in 2012.
Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah, and Huzoor’saba prayers, the university Huzooraba had picked for me ended up having fourteen Ahmadis compared to none in the other university I had also received an offer from. We had our own little Jama’at, did our Namaz [Congregational Prayers], Jummahs [Friday Prayers] and Eid Prayers together, and used to go out for food and activities regularly. This helped us all greatly and created a home away from home for us.
Initially, however, when I went to Czech Republic it took time to adjust to everything. A new place, new people, new language. I remember writing to Huzooraba regularly for prayers and FaceTiming my family a lot, and when I came back to the UK, I tried to get mulaqats with Huzooraba every time by saying I’m a Waqf-e-Nau from Czech Republic only here for a few days. It worked the first few times but then Private Secretary office caught on to my excuse!
The first big exam of my first year in university was a make or break, a very tough exam and it was Chemistry, something I hadn’t enjoyed from the very beginning. I remember thinking back to Huzooraba saying, “Chemistry to parni paray gi” a few years back in my mulaqat during my A-levels and was again amazed by Huzoor’saba foresight and how true his words were.
I remember studying a lot for this tough exam. When I came back to the UK, I got a mulaqat with Huzooraba, I was really stressed and told Huzooraba about this exam. Huzooraba just smiled and advised me to recite Surah Al-Fatihah before starting the exam and to try my best. Then he said to me “Tension na lo, mojay karo” which literally translates to “Don’t stress, relax and enjoy yourself”. I was lost for words. I was so stressed, and I couldn’t believe Huzooraba had said this to me. It was like a huge burden off my shoulders. After Huzooraba said this, everything just became so much smoother, I was so much more relaxed, I passed that exam miraculously and I became much more settled and comfortable in university. From that day on, I started to regularly write to Huzooraba and it was just the blessing of his prayers that I enjoyed the rest of my course so much and even my toughest exams I passed extraordinarily.
This was where I truly learnt that the key to success is working hard, praying regularly, writing to Huzooraba frequently, giving Sadqa [charity] and offering Nawafil [voluntary prayers]. Whenever younger Ahmadi students ask me how to do well, that is what I advise them.
Alhamdulillah, by Allah’s Grace and Huzoor’saba prayers, I graduated in 2018.
I remember going to Huzooraba with a big basket of fruit after I graduated, and it was one of the best feelings to be able to tell Huzooraba I was able to accomplish the main goal he had given me. Since then, I’ve been blessed to have worked in various Hospitals in London such as West Middlesex hospital and Guys & St Thomas hospital which is due entirely to Allah’s Grace, Huzoor’saba prayers and blessings of Waqf.
Huzooraba has advised me to pursue Cardiology. Last year, I had the opportunity to do Waqf-e-Arzi [short-term dedication] with Humanity First in The Gambia. Upon completing my Waqf-e-Arzi, I received a job offer from a leading Cardiology centre in Central London. This continued to show me the innumerable blessings in beloved Huzoor’saba words and the blessings of doing Waqf-e-Arzi.
We should all try our best as Waqifeen-e-Nau to always be ready to give up our time and go do Waqf-e-Arzi as it is such a blessed experience and gives us a taste and a constant reminder of our future goals. When you become a qualified professional, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities at work and lose sight of our long-term goal which is to be of service to the Jama’at in whichever way is required.
One of my favourite verses from the Holy Qur’an that helps me stay focussed on this is goal is:
وَ مَا ہٰذِہِ الۡحَیٰوۃُ الدُّنۡیَاۤ اِلَّا لَہۡوٌ وَّ لَعِبٌ ؕ وَ اِنَّ الدَّارَ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ لَہِیَ الۡحَیَوَانُ ۘ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ
“And this life of the world is nothing but a pastime and a sport, and the Home of the Hereafter — that indeed is Life, if they but knew!” [29:65]
It is a reminder of our bigger purpose: to fulfil our Waqf, serve Khilafat and humanity, and not to get caught up in worldly desires.
In regard to the spirit of Waqf-e-Arzi, Huzooraba advised a young doctor doing Waqf, in This Week With Huzoor, “Always remember that you are going there for the sake of Allah with a spirit of service to mankind.”
As Waqifeen-e-Nau, we should try our best to be of as much service as possible to Khilafat, the Jama’at and humanity, as this is the sole purpose of our Waqf. We are extremely blessed to have Huzoor’saba guidance, prayers and advice available to us every step of the way. If we utilise this by building and maintaining a strong relationship with Allah the Almighty and Huzooraba, we will all succeed in this life and in the hereafter, Insha’Allah [God Willing].
Spirituality in the New Space Age
Where Missions Meet Missionaries
Every night, the universe reveals itself in all its galactic glow. The light of astral bodies—suns, stars and moons—streak and stipple the night sky, expanding the margins of our world as the vast cosmos comes into view. We peer into the dark of the unknown, tracing light that warps and wefts from afar, launching telescopes, rovers and probes at the sky to better understand our place in the wider universe. The latest in our mission for greater understanding was the launch of the James Webb Space telescope. But as we beam signals of our curiosity to the farther corners of the galaxy, will we be ready for what we might find?
The successful launch of NASA’s $10 billion space telescope will see an ambitious 10-year mission to seek out planetary systems hospitable to life. Propelled nearly a million miles away from Earth, the telescope will analyse infrared light, observing some of the earliest galaxy formations in the universe. The hope to find evidence for extraterrestrial life, however, raises questions on how religions may react to the discoveries found in space — questions that the Centre for Theological Inquiry hopes to answer with the help of 24 theologians.
For example, did Jesus atone for the sins of different life forms across the universe? What if other life forms were found, would our relationship with God change? Ultimately, how might religion make sense of what is out there as we take our giant leaps for mankind across the galaxy?
At first glance, it may seem that religions would struggle with such questions, and that any reverence held for theology would become obsolete in this new space age. Islam however doesn’t need to grapple with these concepts — the Quran explicitly mentions alien life and its wider spiritual significance within its opening chapter no less.
“All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.” – Chapter 1, verse 2
The introduction of God as ‘Rabb Ul Alameen’ (Lord of all the worlds) establishes our relationship with Him. God is not for one people, but for all creation in every plane of existence. That He is ‘Lord of all the worlds’ also speaks to the universality of His Rule and Reach — something that is referred to later on more specifically.
At another place, the Quran strikingly refers to other life forms:
“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of whatever living creatures (daabbah) He has spread forth in both. And He has the power to gather them together whenever He pleases.” – Chapter 42, verse 30
The Arabic word used for living creatures — daabah — has specific connotations to animals that are land-dwelling and move along the surface of the earth, thus indicating the existence of life beyond our planet. This verse continues on to claim that “He has the power to gather them together whenever He pleases”. The Arabic term for ‘gather’ جمع (jama’) can mean, among other things, gathering together physically or drawn closer in proximity, suggesting that we will make some form of contact with extraterrestrial life.
In another verse, the Quran mentions that there are other planets that are hospitable to life:
“Allah is He Who created seven heavens, and of the earth the like thereof…” – Chapter 65, verse 13
Here the Quran claims that just as there are ‘seven heavens’, there are also ‘seven earths’. The number seven is significant in Arabic because it symbolises repeating patterns, or multitudes of a thing. Taken together, the Quran explains that there are almost innumerable Earth-like planets that harbour life just like ours.
But this verse continues on to a more extraordinary claim:
“…The divine command comes down in their midst, that you may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge.”
The term ‘divine command’ can be taken to mean revelation. Thus, according to the Quran, there is life out in the cosmos that are aware of God’s existence through revelation that is sent down to them. This brings us back to the initial introduction of God in Islam as ‘Lord of all the worlds’ – all the worlds that have life and are made aware of their Creator.
Ultimately, Islamic theology is replete with references to the vastness of the cosmos and the various forms of life it holds. It speaks in unequivocal, unambiguous and unadaptable terms. Man is not the only creation of God. That God is also Al-Khalaq (the Creator), who ceaselessly creates and perfects His creation, also points to other forms of life existing beyond our own planet. Rather than ending spirituality, our cosmic discoveries can validate its true origins. So as we begin to extend our reach across the stars, we may find that in the dark expanse of the universe, our spirituality shine in a new light.
Qaid: A Leader, Brother, Khadim.
Qaideen Forum 2021
The word Qaid means leader. Throughout Islamic history the term has been used for leaders within Islamic communities, in fact, it has even entered Latin in the form of Alcayde.
But cutting across the fabric of time and the worldly connotations of the past, today it refers to a Muslim youth leader who guides and leads others in the spiritual sense. It is upon discussion of this that local Qaideen from across the UK have met in Baitul Futuh and Darul-Aman at the Qaideen Forum of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK.
The point of this gathering is to discuss and contemplate how to further the spirituality of thousands of Khuddam across the country. Sitting at the back and observing this event one would find something that is perhaps not mirrored in other. Most of the Qaideen are young, they’re eager to discuss how to further the Talim and Tarbiyyat of their fellow Khuddam.
The event starts off, in the opening session, with a video being played of Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba addressing a Khuddam gathering. Huzooraba explains that the role of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya is to protect Khilafat. This goes above and beyond Amoomi duties or any physical protection: true protection is to act upon the words of the Khalifah, to spread them and to get people to follow them. Merely promising that we shall fight left and right is not the actual Jihad, the true Jihad is the acting upon Huzoor’s instructions. Khuddam should look towards the Khalifah’s words, it is the specific task of Khuddam to imbue the youngsters with this spirit.
This year’s Qaideen Forum (12 December for the southern Regions at Baitul Futuh and 18th December for northern regions at Darul-Aman) is split into 2 main workshops: a discussion on the Lahe-Amal (Conduct Manual) and a interactive session on true leadership.
The interactive workshop is very enjoyable, videos of Huzoor addressing various issues that Khuddam face are continuously played. For example in one video Huzoor advises that if something is not working, Khuddam office bearers should change strategy and that Khuddamul Ahmadiyya should work according to the temperaments of people.
The discussion in the second workshop which runs simultaneously is equally important and beneficial. The Lahe-Amal (conduct manual) is discussed and the nature of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya along with its setup is explained. This workshop is delivered by 3 Naib Sadrs (Usman Ahmad Sahib, Tariq Hayat Sahib and Dr Anas Rana Sahib) all of whom have extensive experience in Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. Perhaps the most important part of the presentation, and one that captures everyone’s attention immediately is how Khuddamul Ahmadiyya began: the actual incident that led to it being established—how Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra asked a group of Khuddam who were not scholars to form a board which was named Khuddamul Ahmadiyya a few days later.
Khuddam are given the opportunity to mix and socialise (with social distancing in place!) so they can learn from each other and a lot of interesting conversations take place.
At the end a collective concluding session takes place with many questions being asked by Qaideen. For the benefit of everyone some of these questions and the answers given are presented below:
1. I am a local Qaid, who can get Khuddam emails?
Answer: anyone who holds an office in Khuddamul Ahmadiyya should be conducting Khuddam activities on an official email address. For further information on this you can contact [email protected]
2. What if a Khadim says he cannot give time, do I block him out?
Answer: That would be damaging in the long run. Even if a Khadim can only give 1 hour a month, then that should be utilised and eventually when a relationship develops and the Khadim draws closer to you as a local qaid he may begin to dedicate more time
3. How can we engage with students?
Answer: There are a lot of AMSA engagements that take place over the year. Every university does have an AMSA body and they should plan their annual calendar of events accordingly. Sometimes getting students to do presentations about their own studies can help with engagement.
4. I’m concerned about the physical wellbeing of Khuddam, are there any individual resources that can used during lockdown?
Answer: the Sehat-e-Jismani department has been planning and holding events such as the Khuddam Football League. But as a local qaid if there are Khuddam who cannot participate in such group activities then you should look to arrange some other form of exercise plan which can benefit your Khuddam, this can be done in by working with the national Sehat-e-Jismani team.
5. Are events taking place, I have planned my local Ijtema but am uncertain about restrictions?
Answer: Every region has a Disaster Management Committee. Before planning any event or gathering you should present your plan to them, and they will be able to advise as to whether the event should take place based on whatever the current guidelines of Covid restrictions are. This should not dissuade you from planning events, you just need to ensure that the Regional Qaid is aware and that proper planning has gone into the Covid side of the event.
Honouring our Pledge: What, Where, When and Why?
The theme for the Khuddam year beginning now is “Honouring our Pledge”. It’s time to start evaluating whether we’re fulfilling the promise we’ve been making.
Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK is happy to announce the new theme approved by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba as Honouring our Pledge. Here’s a quick read to get you thinking about the theme and what the focus will be for this Khuddam year.
Of course, we all know that Islam lays particular emphasis upon fulfilling one’s promises; whether they relate to everyday matters, one’s family, work or religion. But in this case the theme refers to our Khuddamul Ahmadiyya pledge: the one where we stand-up, place our right hand above our left, and recite in unison at the beginning of Khuddam gatherings. This year’s theme is not about a pledge, rather the pledge. (Download it here!)
The Khuddam pledge goes back to the inception of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya itself. All auxiliaries within the Jama’at have their pledges according to their aims and objectives. As part of the Khuddam pledge Tashahhud is recited and then the pledge reads:
“I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammadsa is the servant and messenger of Allah. I solemnly pledge that I shall always be ready to sacrifice my life, wealth, time and honour for the sake of my faith, country and nation. Likewise, I shall be ready to offer any sacrifice for guarding the institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. Moreover, I shall deem it essential to abide by any ‘maroof’ decision made by Khalifatul-Masih. Inshallah”.
This is what we pledge (and have been pledging since we were Atfal, though the Atfal pledge speaks about honesty and not using foul language instead).
The Khuddam pledge can be traced back to 1938 where only the first part relating to sacrificing wealth, time and honour can be found. It was later that amendments were made by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra adding to the pledge.
The Khuddam pledge talks about sacrificing four things we hold dear:
Though a true Khadim is always ready to sacrifice his life—as we saw in the recent example of Syed Taalay Ahmad Sahib Shaheed—in this day and age what we are asked of most frequently is to sacrifice our wealth and time. Wealth is sacrificed in the form of chandas and charity whereas time is sacrificed by committing a certain portion of it in pursuit of the Majlis’ activities. If we reflect upon the history of Islam, this is indeed a very small sacrifice that we are being asked to make. Today’s jihad is that of self-reformation and we are not burdened as Muslims were burdened in times of the past. Therefore, this makes it even more important to ensure we are living up to the little we are being asked to commit.
Undoubtedly, this new year will bring a revived focus around the pledge and what it means. But on an individual level we should begin contemplating and evaluating the extent to which we fulfil our pledge.
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