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The First Ever Virtual Rally

With the Covid-19 pandemic, social gatherings became increasingly difficult to organise. However, the progress of the community of the Promised Messiah (as) does not halt under the blessed leadership of Khilafat, so under the guidance of our beloved Imam (aba), a virtual rally was held to connect Khuddam from all over the country.

By Luqman Bajwa
Published on August 10, 2020 at 3:43 pm
Image by: MKA UK Isha'at

Sunday 9 September 2019; that was the day of the concluding session of the MKA UK National Ijtema 2019. It concluded a traditional busy summer for the Majlis that started with Ramadhan, the build up to Jalsa Salana UK 2019, Eid ul Adhia and wrapping up with a September Ijtema.

 

After the unfortunate events that led to the postponement of Jalsa Salana Qadian 2019, who would have thought we would have followed this with the summer that we have faced? Local Ijtema’at still took place as usual in early 2020, but only a handful of regions were able to hold their regional Ijtema before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown swept aside the usual summer programme for MKA. But of course, MKA UK didn’t cease its activities , taking inspiration and guidance from beloved Huzoor-e-Anwar (aba), MKA did what it does best; serving the wider community in whichever way it could, whether it was delivering food parcels and medicines to those in need, or assisting councils with delivery of PPE and much more.

 

However, the summer calendar was still missing  a flagship MKA UK event. The challenge was clear; the Majlis needed to come up with a way to bring everyone together, to allow Khuddam from across the country to connect with each other. Hence, with the guidance of Huzoor-e-Anwar (aba) a National MKA UK Virtual Rally was scheduled for 25-26 July 2020. The theme Huzoor-e-Anwar (aba) gave the Majlis to focus on was ‘The Status of the Holy Prophet (sa)’ and ‘The Life of the Promised Messiah (as)’. For once the weather forecast was not a factor for the event, as the “venue” would be YouTube. So, the MKA UK and MAA UK national teams presented a full weekend of Academic and Tarbiyyat programmes that with the grace of Allah were able to go some way to bringing the Majlis together once again.

 

The weekend started with a formal opening session with Naib Sadr MKA UK, Tariq Hayat, presenting live from MTA International Studios, at 10:40am, streaming on the MKA and MAA YouTube channel. The start was not without some small technical glitches, but the programme started only 10 minutes later than billed. After Tilawat, Nazm and a brief welcome by Tariq Hayat, Mirza Mahmood Ahmad (Auditor in AMJ International and Vice President Humanity First International) delivered a short talk. He shared a few words on how the blessed souls of Prophets and their successors understand the word of God and convey it to us in words and deeds.

 

After the opening session, Hafiz Ijaz Ahmad Tahir hosted the first Khuddam academics session. He presided over the judging of the Tilawat finals, interacting with each contestant and understanding how every Khadim prepared his Tilawat in his own unique way. This was interesting for the viewers as it gave them an insight into the manner in which contestants at Ijtema’at prepare their pieces.

 

This was followed by Salman Qamar hosting and judging the Nazm Finals. The session set the standard expected for participants over the weekend. Following the afternoon break the second Khuddam academics sessions switched to team competitions, starting with a very popular Kasoti competition, followed by the group presentations and team quiz.

 

The Nau-Mobaeen department (New Ahmadis) hosted their own academic session in parallel with Sammar Malik, Mohtamim New Ahmadis department, chairing the session. The session featured an inspiring speech by Hamza Iliyas, Naib Secretary New Ahmadis (UK Jama’at), and a presentation on the Life of the Holy Prophet (sa) by Humayon Uppal. The academics competitions consisted of Tilawat, Adhan, Prepared and Extempore Speech. Their session concluded with a Q&A with Raza Ahmed, Mujeeb Mirza and Zawar Ahmad Butt – all missionaries of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, serving in the UK.

Following the opening session, Atfalul Ahmadiyya hosted an impressive technical feat, hosting 510 Atfal across 10 parallel zoom sessions for the Tilawat Preliminaries. This was followed by Nazm Competition with 250 participants.

 

After the afternoon academics sessions, Atfalul Ahmadiyya hosted their keynote “Untold Narrations” show at 5.15pm, with Syed Taalay Ahmad (from MTA International News), sharing his experiences with Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba). The session was followed by the prepared speech preliminaries with 445 Atfal taking part. Further to this, 110 Atfal submitted essays and 150 took part in the calligraphy competition in offline submissions.

 

Saturday concluded with two special sessions, firstly a discussion on the topic of “Sports & Religion” hosted by Abdur Rauf Lodhi (Mohtamim Tabligh), and an international panel featuring Abdullah Dibba from the US (former captain of Jamia UK football team and missionary), Usman Jamil (former captain of MKA USA Basketball) and our very own Danish Nasir (captain of the AMYA Football team).

 

The final session of the day was the very much anticipated “Experiences with Khilafat” with Imam Ataul Mujeeb Rashid, followed by a Q&A . This was hosted by Naib Sadr Usman Ahmad in the MTA International studios with Imam Sahib on live video feed. With the grace of Allah, the show capped off a successful first day of the rally.

 

The second day started off very much like the first, with Naib Sadr Ali Khan, welcoming the audience back, and another inspirational guest speaker, Atta-ul-Momin Zahid (Missionary and Director MTA3 Al Arabiyya), sharing examples of the Holy Prophet (sa) regarding abstaining from vain activities. The Khuddam academics session was hosted by Shahzad Ahmad for the English Prepared and Extempore Speech Competition, and Ayyaz Mehmood Khan for the Urdu Prepared and Extempore Speech Competition. In parallel the Atfal YouTube channel hosted the live finals of the Atfal Academics finals, which featured live voting from the audience.

 

The afternoon Khuddam session started with the second Khuddam panel discussion session billed on the programme, with “Inspiring Convert Stories”, hosted by  Mansoor Clarke and joined by Jonathon Butterworth , Marwan Sarwar Gill  (tuning in from Argentina) and Saul Graham Page. The show turned into one of those sessions you did not want to end.

 

However, straight after the session the rally returned to the MTA International studios, to join hosts Raza Ahmed sahib and Attiqur Rahman (Mohtamim Tarbiyyat MKA UK), who invited 8 international teams to compete in a very special international exhibition quiz competition. The show turned into a truly unique feature of the rally, bringing teams from Ghana, Australia, Canada, USA, Norway, Sweden, Germany and UK in a variety of team quiz, popular answers and group presentation rounds. The various international teams really enjoyed participating and competing against their fellow Ahmadi brothers from around the world, and the hosts really managed to present the competition in a most interesting manner.

 

Over on the Atfal YouTube channel, Mubashar Zafri hosted an interesting show called “Charge the Criminal”. He was joined by  Sammar Ahmad  and Daanish Khurram to help Atfal solve three scenarios.

 

Finally, the rally concluded with a special final session hosted by Naib Sadr Adam Walker, inviting Sadr Majlis and Amir Sahib UK for their final message, with Amir Sahib closing the rally with silent prayers at 6.30pm.

 

This brand-new experience brought with it a lot of challenges, and also some very interesting feedback from participants and our audience.

 

One Khadim wrote:

 

“Assalamo Alaikum dear Sadr sahib,

 

I Hope you and the family are keeping well with the blessings of Allah, I just wanted to congratulate you on the brilliant Virtual Rally, Alhamdulillah it surpassed all the standards by a mile.

 

May Allah bless the whole team involved abundantly. I know you all will be busy in collecting red book points and I just wanted say there was none. It was amazing from every aspect.

 

Please pass my congratulations to Farhad sb too.

 

Wasalaam”

 

Another Khadim, from Africa, said:

 

“Mash’Allah, mubarak ho on the wonderful virtual rally. People like me were able to join in too, I really enjoyed it.”

 

Whilst another Khadim wrote:

 

“Assalamo Alaikum Sadr sb,

 

For the last two days I have watched a few parts of the virtual rally and my family kept up to date with it as well. My mum enjoyed watching it the most and Alhamdulillah we all learned many new things. So, I would like to say Jazak’Allah to you for organising this amazing event!”

 

This virtual rally was a brand-new experience for the audience and participants, but the same applied to the event orgranisers and committee. Yousaf Aftab, the Nazim-e-Ala of this event gave the following remarks:

 

“Alhamdulillah by the grace of Allah and the prayers of Huzoor-e-Anwar (aba), we were able to overcome many challenges in running and hosting our first ever virtual rally. The Covid-19 crisis has made us rethink our dynamics. Certainly, for us as a team we needed to adapt and be agile in creating an interactive and engaging programme to meet the needs of our Khuddam and Atfal brothers.

 

By no means was this an easy task as we had a very short period of time to deliver such an event to members of our Majlis, a lot of whom we have not met face to face for months.

 

The challenges of ensuring we could relate to the different styles of learning using such tools at our disposal that we didn’t have complete expertise in was a demanding task. It’s a fine line in creating a programme that meets the needs of all whilst ensuring you can keep them engaged and actively participating.

 

The other challenge was ensuring we could get across to all the Khuddam and Atfal in our Majlis and ensure they would be able to attend parts of the programme. In this we had to be creative of selling the programme to the Majlis and outlining why they should join the rally.

 

The collective efforts of the team and their ability to change, be more agile and work under pressure was notable. The cohesiveness of the team and their willingness to deliver the best result for the Majlis was certainly visible. The hours of planning undoubtedly payed off and highlighted to us that as a dynamic organisation, and with the continued prayers of our beloved Imam (aba), there isn’t anything we can do if we pray and persevere.

 

The motto Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) provided us with certainly shows that our youth can be nation builders and in all types of adversity can rise to new challenges as and when they come. We’ve learnt a huge amount from this experience and it is certainly something that will help us grow and develop, Insha’Allah. All praise belongs to Allah for giving us this opportunity and covering our shortcomings. Alhamdulillah.”

 

When asked about what motivated the Majlis to hold such an event, Respected Sadr sahib MKA UK said:

 

“We are extremely fortunate to receive constant guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba). The virtual rally would never have been organised if beloved Huzoor (aba) hadn’t instructed us to hold academic competitions and come up with a presentable plan.

 

In addition to the blessed guidance of beloved Huzoor (aba), the Majlis was extremely blessed to receive the prayers of our beloved Imam (aba) when the plan was presented to him. He blessed this event with his prayers with the words: ‘Allah ba barkat fermaye’, meaning that may Allah bless this event. Certainly, we saw the prayers of our beloved Imam (aba) being fulfilled throughout the course of this rally, Alhamdulillah.”

 

Being a completely online based virtual rally, accurate figures and statistics regarding the involvement of our Atfal and Khuddam participation were collected. The statistics for both days are as follows:

 

Day 1:

 

Atfal:

Total Views: 9522

Playbacks: 7000

Peak concurrent: 418

 

Khuddam:

Total Views: 8854

Playbacks: 10,000

Peak concurrent: 429

 

Day 2:

 

Atfal:

Total Views: 15,510

Playbacks: 8600

Peak concurrent: 428

 

Khuddam:

Total Views: 9007

Playbacks: 10,000

Peak concurrent: 429

 

 

By the grace of Allah, the rally brought many firsts. It was a first for the Majlis to host a lengthy live programme for two consecutive days.  At its peak there were over 750 live connections and over 10k total views on YouTube. The summer of 2020 will always be remembered as the summer where we were restricted to our own households, but due to the prayers and guidance of Huzoor-e-Anwar (aba), it won’t be remembered as the summer when MKA UK was locked down, Insha’Allah.

 

 

 

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Al-Furqan FC: A formidable force to be reckoned with

The title to this article should actually read, ‘Al-Furqan FC: A formidable force to be reckoned with, unless of course, you are ze Germans’. However, due to publisher guidelines we had to settle for the former. Let me explain.

Over the weekend of the 12th May 2023, the inaugural International Football Tournament organized by Majlis-E-Sehet was held in the UK. As the host country, the UK registers several teams and in previous years at similar tournaments have submitted a ‘UK A’ and ‘UK B’ team alongside others including, Fazl-e-Umar (formed of Jamaat workers), Jamia UK, and Spain. Yes, Spain. The majority (if not all) of the Spanish team was made up of British players. I’m putting it down to potential ‘ex-pat’ participation or issues with getting travel visas since Brexit*.

Due to what some people consider selection bias and the north-south divide**, this year’s tournament organizers approved the formation of a UK South and UK North teams instead of A and B. Quickly, some people attached a somewhat derogatory label of A and B to the South and North team which may have upset lesser individuals, but couldn’t shake the South team***. Foreseeing this, the organisers promoted both teams to rename and avoid connotations to the regional differences.

*a calamity for the British people in the UK and overseas.

**a variation of accents and local lexicon.

***DISCLAIMER: Yes, I played for the ‘North’ team this year but have played for the ‘South’ team in the past so I’m sure they won’t mind the jibe. Hopefully.

 

Shazil Lone – Manager – United Kingdom (previously UK South).

“We wanted to keep UK in the name as we felt without it, it would disregard UK’s history of reaching the European finals twice and winning it back in 2018. We kept it simple and stuck to United Kingdom.”

The UK team kept their name simple, but further north, things were going in a different direction. Head Coach of UK North, Waseem Hussain (or ‘Waz’ as he is lovingly referred to as), was instrumental in the northern outfits name change. After getting to know Waz over the past 3 months, I can confirm that this guy lives and breathes football. He’s the kind of guy you wouldn’t recognise if he wasn’t in a full tracksuit. When speaking to him about why the name change occurred, Waz said:

“When I suggested Al-Furqan, I did so because it was never about just naming a football team. It had to be special and make a difference. Something long lasting. The Furqan Force has always resonated with me as they were few in numbers. Self-funded. Small but tough group. That’s what I wanted our squad to be, an army. It was meant to be. I believe this was the way forward. This was so much bigger than football, it needed that spiritual and historical context. From the organisation sides of things, the management team threw a few names into the hat. Murabbi Sahib was intent on the name having an Arabic and Islamic context. He made the final call – he was the main man and everyone accepted that from bottom to top.”

Conversations with the Murabbi Kurshid Sahib, manager of UK North, confirmed Waz’s vision for the team.

 

Muhummad Kurshid Sahib – Manager – Al-Furqan FC:

“I loved the name straight away, as a tribute to the Furqan force. The youth should know about the sacrifices they made. A team talk was specifically planned in regards to what it means. To be able to differentiate between right and wrong. After this tournament ends, we will form our own team in a local league and so it will be an avenue for tabligh. As well as this, I felt the tournament would be an avenue to connect the northern boys to Marqaz. That was one of our goals.”

So it began. The UK North team was renamed after the Furqan Force; a volunteer corps established by the Jamaat that fought in Kashmir alongside the Pakistan army during the partition of Pakistan and India.  ‘Al-Furqan’ itself derives from the Quran (Chapter 25: Surah Al-Furqan), meaning those who can distinguish between right and wrong.

Al-Furqan’s Team Badge

The team was founded, but now the players had to be selected. A rigorous process of multiple trials held in various corners of the north, followed by weekly squad training (even through Ramadan), meaning players had to travel hundreds if not thousands of miles in the 3-month period to get ready for the tournament. Although it seems far, it was no further than one particular player, Jahja, our 36-year-old semi-professional footballer from Pakistan. A week before the northern trials took place, he had arrived in the UK on asylum due to persecution for being an Ahmadi Muslim in his home country. In fact, he was representing the Pakistan National Football team until they found out about his faith. In our eyes this was a huge loss for Pakistan but a massive gain for Al-Furqan! Alongside him, players from Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham, Leicester, Stoke, Hartlepool, Sheffield and Glasgow made the final squad. Distances stretched, but players united over this unique period of time.

Momentum gained in the build up to the tournament as the squad prepared, but in an unfortunate turn of events, the passing of Manager Kurshid’s father meant he had to leave northern UK for Pakistan. All of a sudden, the progress of the group under the guidance of the manager seemed to be coming to a halt.

“I left camp and went to Pakistan for 2 weeks. I was thinking of stepping back. But then in my mind I thought, if this is jamaat work, how can I say no? This became a personal journey for me. If it was just football, I would have dropped out immediately.”

In the intermediate, Waz would look after things with the help of his assistant coach and son, Amaar Hussain alongside captain Atta Khan and vice-captain Abdul Ghalib. The training continued and increased in intensity as players looked to get match fit. With multiple games being played across each day of the tournament, fitness was paramount to any success. Players were promoted to train multiple times a week together, take part in friendly matches and complete a minimum of 2km run everyday in the fortnight leading up to our first fixture. Upon Manager Kurshid’s return, the squad felt as ready as they could be.

Australia arrive in the UK for the tournament, met by tournament chairman, Nisar Orchard Sahib.

Ismail Ahmad – Central Midfielder and Captain – Team USA

“On arrival, I was shocked by how many teams there were. Previous tournaments have been on a much smaller scale but this was another level. Organisation was really well done. The way this tournament brought so many people from all parts of the world together with key common interests; Jamaat and football.”

At the outset of the tournament, a dinner was hosted at the new Baitul Fatuh complex where teams got to meet one another and eat together. This was the beginning of attaining one of the key purposes of this event, to develop bonds between Ahmadi brothers from far and wide.  With teams arriving from as far as the USA, Canada, Australia and across Europe – this truly was an international tournament. The following morning, the group stage games began.

Teams gather for the tournaments opening session in Baitul Fatuh

FLYING START FOR AL-FURQAN

Al-Furqan vs Holland – Group Stage Game 1 – Friday 12th May

Al-Furqan announced themselves on the world stage with a solid performance against the resolute Netherlands. Led by the ‘Flying Dutchman’ Ibrahim Ahmad, Holland dominated the first 10 minutes of the game with the majority of possession and attempts at goal but with little fortune. Steadily, Al-Furqan grew into the game and after having shaken off some early nerves, showed Holland their quality with a quick breakaway play that lead them to a 2-0 lead at halftime. Late into the second half, Holland managed to pull one back through a superb penalty taken by their number 9 but the spark of hope was quickly diminished as Al-Furqan responded with attacking midfielder Rayyan Hussain grabbing a brace before the final whistle.

The final score was 4-1 to Al-Furqan.

 

AL-FURQAN TEACH JAMIA CANADA A LESSON

Al-Furqan vs Jamia Canada – Group Stage Game 2 – Friday 12th May

The final game of the first day for Al-Furqan was against underdogs Jamia Canada. In their first fixture, they challenged group favorites Canada A, only losing by a goal in a tightly contested match finishing 3-2. Al-Furqan took no chances and played strong starting eleven and soon found out why Jamia had put up such a good fight against their counterparts. Jamia’s central midfielders were quick and tricky, finding pockets of space to run into and doing so with confidence. Alongside this, they had a back four who put everything on the line not to concede. But unfortunately for them, neither of these strengths could stop a sublime freekick by set-piece specialist Jajha from looping over the keeper from 25 yards. The game then opened up and Al-Furqan sent wave after wave of attacks, breaking through the heart of defence to score a second with captain Atta adding another to his tournament tally.

The final score was 2-0 to Al-Furqan.

 

FURQAN FORCE THEIR WAY INTO THE QUARTER-FINALS

Al-Furqan vs Canada A – Group Stage Game 3 – Saturday 13th May

The match against Canada A was arguably one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament and the biggest threat Al-Furqan had faced so far. With the match taking center stage at the Xcel stadium, a crowd of several hundred spectators took to the stands to cheer on the teams. A chorus of narays echoed around the pitch throughout the match as the ebbs and flows of the game took the audience on a thrilling ride. Some dubious defending (not naming any names but it starts with M and ends in E) led to Canada taking the lead as the left winger beat the offside trap to slot it home. This got the Canadian management team and bench off in a frenzy which only added to the exhilarating atmosphere. Al-Furqan pulled one back with a penalty as our right winger, Bash, was too skillful for the fullback and was taken down in the box. Cool-headed Jajha converted from the spot. At the beginning of the second half, Canada’s striker was fouled on the edge of the box. He then went on to perfectly place the ball into the top corner just out of the reach of goalkeeper Haris. With the wind in their sails, Canada held onto possession, playing the better football out of the two teams, and pushed for a third. Haris was once again called into action on a couple of occasions but Al-Furqan weathered the storm and pushed on the counter. As the intensity of the atmosphere around the ground increased, Al-Furqan did what they could to break down a solid Canadian defense. With not long left in the game, Al-Furqan settled for a corner which was whipped in, and with Canadian bodies doing everything to dampen any attempt at goal, a wayward shot hit the hand of a player in the box, and another penalty was awarded to Al-Furqan. Tempers flared on and off the pitch at the decision but this didn’t hinder Jajha, as once again, he stepped up and hammered it home. A rapturous crowd responded, expecting the last few minutes of the game to be nothing less than end-to-end action – and both teams delivered but to no avail.

Final score, was 2-2.

 

Oui Win

Al-Furqan vs France – Quarter Final – Saturday 13th May

France’s team included the tournament’s top goal scorer and were a team to watch according to many spectators who had been keeping a close eye on them. Al-Furqan started the game strong, as did France who were keen to prove to people they were not to be underestimated. As the first half ended at 0-0, you couldn’t pick a favourite between the two. However, in the second half, Al-Furqan took it up a gear and showed their quality by taking a hold of the game. Two goals including Atta’s audacious chip on the half volley over the keeper followed by winger Toyyub’s pop from close range that crepe-d into the far corner put the game to bed. Hopefully our paths will croissant again. In the meantime, Al-Furqan had baguette-d themselves a place in the semis.  Ok, I’ll stop now. Apologies.

Final score, 2-0 to Al-Furqan

 

Al-Furqan huddle prior to kick off

Muhummad Ehsan Ahmad – Right Back/Captain – Jamia UK

“This was the first time that Jamia had taken a team to a tournament since corona. The highlight for us was playing Germany A who went onto win. We didn’t get much prep time. We were a small team playing the favourites. We were winning 1-0 and looking on the side-lines we had all of the other teams supporting the underdogs! They scored in the last kick of the game. What a match.”

 

DEUTSCHLAND DISMANTLE AL-FURQAN

Al-Furqan vs Germany A – Semi-Final – Saturday 13th May

With only a half an hour break between the quarters and semis for Al-Furqan, the players were straight back in at the deep end. This time against the reigning champions. We knew they had been pushed to the brink by Jamia UK in the group stages – which gave us motivation that we could go one further. The magnanimity of the occasion gave Al-Furqan the adrenaline they needed to be the better of the two sides in the first half, playing some high tempo football and creating a couple of chances. With the scores level going into the break, key players and management motivated players with inspiring team talks to get them towards a potential illustrious final against the UK held in Islamabad the following day. However, fatigue had started to set in. Al-Furqan became sluggish and struggled to keep up with the pace of the game. Smelling blood, Germany took advantage and started to play a more fluid and attacking style, finally getting on the scoresheet with 10 minutes to play. Germany added two more before the final whistle as Al-Furqan struggled to break their back line and conjure up anything special to test the German keeper. A flat finish to what had otherwise been an exceptional first tournament for the newly founded team.

Final score, 3-0 to Germany A.

 

Abdul Lohdi, Attacking Midfielder – Al-Furqan FC

“I was so exhausted in that last game. For most of it I was just thinking… I can’t wait to get into bed.”

Post-game, our despondent team reflected upon their performance and overall weekend. Nothing but positives was to be taken home with the squad, considering how in many people’s opinions, we had overachieved. Nevertheless, as a defeated player, you can’t help but focus on the negatives. Things that could have gone better. No doubt some of the younger players in the squad who were competing in their first tournament, would feel this loss for a while. Some of the senior players in the dressing room told them that it would soon pass – you get used to it. These games come and go and you learn more from a loss than you do from a win. That kind of thing. Who knows how much of that advice they took on board. Either way, they’ll get over it. Especially when we come back and win it next time… InshAllah!

 

Zafir Malik, Central Defensive Midfielder – Fazl-e-Umar:

“The most memorable take away for me was getting to meet with my Khuddam brothers from all parts of the world. Winning and losing is one aspect of the game, but getting together to compete, or raise slogans, singing Durood and getting the crowd involved, that’s what it’s all about. You can’t put a price on that kind of atmosphere. The battle on the pitch and the love off the pitch. That’s the beauty of tournaments like this one. That’s how Ahmaddiyat works. The only thing that can bring people together like this is Khilafat.”

On exiting the venue, the pick-me-up that everyone needed was announced; Huzoor (aba) would be taking team photos in Islamabad after the final. All of a sudden, the pain of the loss was washed away with this wonderful news!

Al-Furqan FC Team Photo with Beloved Huzoor (aba)

Stood there with Huzoor (aba) sat alongside made us all feel like winners. The highs and lows of the weekend were superseded by this brief moment. The click of a lense, a quick Salam and JazakAllah. I’m sure I speak for everyone that was fortunate enough to be beside beloved Huzoor (aba) for their team photos; this was the real trophy.

Once the photo was taken, we were swiftly moved on by amoomi who directed us towards the masjid. We walked slowly, reflecting upon the awe of the moment that had just occurred. Members of the squad scuttled towards Manager Kurshid Sahib who spoke directly to Huzoor (aba) when he arrived.

“What did Huzoor say to you?”, we all gestured in our own ways as the entire squad huddled around him. He went on to eloquently repeat what Huzoor (aba) had said to him, including his own personal request of prayers for his late father.

“Weren’t we lucky to be the first team to have our picture taken! If it wasn’t for the name ‘Al-Furqan’, alphabetically we could have been anywhere on the list!”

If it hadn’t been for the name, we wouldn’t have been the first team stood ready when Huzoor initially arrived. He spoke with us for a slightly longer period of time than others as he walked over to take his seat at the centre of the team. Once again, the name of this team seemed to solidify itself as something that had brought us additional blessings.

Although the majority of us were huddled closely with a feeling of glee illustrated across our faces, near the back of the group was Jajha, tears streaming down his face, completely overcome with emotion. His first time seeing Khalifatul Masih in person, especially considering the journey he had been on to get here was reflected in his eyes. We all gathered around him to share one last hug before departing for the masjid.

Al-Furqan walk to namaz after having their team photo taken with Huzoor (aba)

There were many unique highlights at this tournament. If I wrote about them all they could easily fill an Al-Hakam newspaper front to back. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be the overhead kick to seal the win for Germany A against Jamia UK in the last second of the game. Or maybe it was Australia’s 40-yard screamer of a freekick against UK in the Quarter finals? But, then again, that did lead to the sudden death penalties where Australia had 4 separate match winning penalties that they missed or had saved by UK’s hero goalkeeper! No. No. Wait. PAAMA Stars walking out to their quarter final singing Durood. Actually, it could have been the pitch invasion after Germany beat UK in penalties (deja vu) in the final. Anyway, regardless of which highlight tips the others for top spot I don’t think any written word would do justice to these moments. You just had to be there.

 

In loving memory of the late, Maulana Munawwar Ahmad Khursheed Sahib, father of Murabbi Muhummad Kurshid – Manager of Al-Furqan. “…I told him that I had been appointed as manager of the UK northern team. He said ‘MashAllah, very good.’ with a beaming smile.”

Maulana Munawwar Ahmad Khursheed Sahib

 

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Kicking Off the Year – Khadim Style

The National Ijtema Sports day for Northern Regions is currently underway in Bradford at Dixons Allerton Academy, and the Khuddam and Atfal present here are thoroughly enjoying all the activities and sessions that are taking place.

Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK is holding this sports day on the instructions of Huzooraba after sports at the National Ijtema 2022 were cancelled due to the demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a mark of respect. Huzooraba instructed the Majlis that the sports that were due to take place at the Ijtema should be organised as soon as possible for the benefit of all Khuddam and Atfal that missed out. Subsequently, it was decided for the Majlis to hold 2 sports days – one for the northern regions (taking place today) and another for the southern regions (date to be announced).

Registration started at 8am with Khuddam and Atfal arriving from all around the northern parts of the UK with breakfast served in the marquees set up onsite. The event started at 10am with an opening session chaired by the Nazime Ala Sahib Ijtema, Tariq Hayat Sahib. The plan for the day was announced by Mohtamim Sahib Sehate-Jismani, Abdur Rauf Lodhi Sahib.

Football and Cricket for Khuddam and Atfal took place in grass fields and netball courts. Tarbiyyat ‘Chit Chat Chai’ were held at the auditorium, alongside outdoor and indoor sports, on topics such as relationships, the key to paradise, and working hard or hardly working. The first talk covered a wide range of questions in relation to how Khuddam should approach the idea of getting married, how to decide on the type of spouse that they desire, the qualities they should look for and the attitude they adopt going into the process.

After Namaz-e-Zuhr and Ask a short Talqeen-e-Amal session took place which was on the topic of Namaz. This was followed by a continuation of sports. So far Khuddam and Atfal are finding this it to be a good opportunity to begin the year with an activity that binds the Majlis together in a spirit of brotherhood. The final session is due to take place after Maghrib Namaz, where winning teams will be given prizes by Sadr Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. The Khuddam and Atfal attendance at the Sports Day is 780, Alhamdulillah.

 

Here is some of the feedback from the Khuddam on today’s event.

A Khadim form North West, Abdul Ghalib Sahib, said that “The event has been really good so far, I enjoyed coming together with Khuddam again after the sports were previously cancelled at the Ijtema due to the demise of the Queen”. Another khadim, Waheed Ahmad, said that “It was good that Majlis has found a window to hold such an important event of the Khuddam year”. Another khadim from Scotland said that “It is important for Ahmadi youth to come together, build a sense of togetherness and develop brotherhood.”

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Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V Inaugurates Islamabad Convenience Store

On the 1st of April 2022, after Asr Namaz, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) inaugurated the MKA Tuck Shop in Islamabad. Huzoor (aba) opened the Homeopathic Dispensary adjacent to the Tuck Shop before gracing the Khuddam store.  Huzoor (aba) unveiled a plaque and led everyone in silent prayer after which Sadr Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK, Abdul Quddus Arif, Mohtamim Sanat-o-Tijarat, Umar Hassan, and Motamid Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK, Nassar Bhatti, had the opportunity to show Huzoor (aba) the store and its wares.

Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) unveils the plaque outside the Convenience Store.

 

Huzoor (aba) leading Silent Prayer after opening the Store.

 

Sadr Sahib MKA UK and Mohtamim Sanat-o-Tijarat have the blessed opportunity to present the Store to Huzoor (aba).

Huzoor (aba) graced Khuddam with his precious time and distributed sweets to children who had gathered outside.

Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) graces Naib Mohtamim Isha’at, Mudabbir Din, with his attention.

Immediately after Huzoor (aba) stepped outside the store, Huzoor (aba) was informed by Sadr Sahib about the Khuddam present with Huzoor (aba) speaking to a few as well. All those who had gathered were greatly  moved by Huzoor’s presence.

This tuck shop will Insha’Allah serve as a small convenience store for the residents of Islamabad and visitors. The Homeopathy Dispensary has also opened alongside the MKA Tuck Shop.

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