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‘They Are Living, Only You Perceive Not.’

A decade has passed since the horrific act of terror committed against the Ahmadi Muslim Community in Lahore on 28 May 2010. Anas Salman is a young Muslim who witnessed the atrocious attacks on one of the mosques, Dar uz-Zikr. Read his eye witness testimony below.

By Muhammad Mussawar Ahmed
Published on May 28, 2020 at 8:07 pm

One of the most brutal attacks ever encountered by this community was the Lahore attacks of Pakistan on 28 May 2010. As we reflect upon a decade since those martyrs who sacrificed their lives in this inhuman act of terrorism, it is difficult to understand the pain that the families of the affected went through. The attack took place in two Ahmadiyya mosques in Lahore, Pakistan whilst the peace-loving Ahmadis were busy in Friday prayers. The responsibility of this attack was claimed by Tehreek e Taliban, Pakistan. The attack was carried out in two different mosques (Dar ul-Zikr & Bait al-Noor) at the same time. The initial attack was followed up by making the people inside the two mosques hostages for hours . The saddest part of this brutality was that the attackers entering the mosque murdered everyone they found alive indiscriminately. Moreover, a lack of proper support from authorities made it even easier for these perpetrators to shed blood of innocent Ahmadis without fear.

However, it was the courage of our courageous Ahmadi brothers who eventually overpowered two of the attackers in Model town mosque and handed him over to the police. An eyewitness and survivor of the attack named Anas Salman, a Khadim who now lives in the UK, explains this whole experience in the following words:

“It was one of those days which I can never forget. I got up from the office and went to Garhi Shaho mosque (Dar ul-Zikr) for Jumma prayer. When I reached there, I offered my first set of ‘sunnat’ prayers and as soon as I finished my prayers, I heard gunshots. The Murabbi sahib who was delivering the sermon asked the worshippers to stay calm. Soon, we noted that bullets started getting fired from one of the mosque hall windows on the left and some people got injured.  People started running to save their lives towards the right corner of the hall. Murabbi sahib started reciting prayers in loud voice but all of a sudden, the door behind him was blasted with a grenade and he embraced martyrdom in front of my eyes. A terrorist entered from the destroyed door and started firing. I was in the second last row, so I ran towards the back door with others and came to the open hallway.

As soon as we came to the hallway, one of the terrorists there blew himself up in a suicide blast. We tried to run to save our lives by hiding in the toilets, rooms and underneath the staircase. During that time, we continuously heard the gunshots. When I looked around, I saw myself surrounded by around 30 people which included children as well. People were in a state of shock and some were calling police, whilst others were calling their loved ones to say final good byes. I also tried to call my mother but the network was busy. I was worried about what would happen next. Suddenly, one of the attackers fired at us from the opposite ceiling of the hall. Many people got hit and I also got hit with two bullets: one on the upper chest and the other penetrated my arm. I wanted to talk to my mother one last time but the network didn’t allow it. I laid there in despair waiting to embrace death. Luckily there was a basement beside that staircase. When I realised that I am still breathing after 15 minutes, I gathered my strength and asked all others to go into the basement. It was half past 3 and we could still hear the gunshots. After some time, my phone rang and I could hear my mother’s voice on the other side. I got emotional after listening to my mother and started crying. However, the reply my mother gave shook me and raised my morale. She replied back by saying: ‘Son, you are God’s property and whatever He will do for you will be better’. These words really gave me a boost and I asked her to give the phone to my father. She said that he is in ‘sajda’ and is not getting up. I asked them for prayers and said goodbye.

Bullet holes in the walls of one of the Mosques in Lahore.

Bullet holes in the walls of one of the Mosques in Lahore

We could still hear firing and gunshots, so we stayed in the basement and started praying. At around half past 5, we heard chants of ‘Allah o Akbar’ and the announcement asking us to come out as everything was alright now. However, these voices were suppressed by a loud bomb blast. We felt that the ceiling of the mosque would fall upon us but we remained safe. Later on, we realised that it was systematically plotted by terrorists due to which they managed to kill more people. At around half past 6, we again heard similar chants but we did not move. However, after a while, our Khuddam brothers knocked on the basement door and called us out upon which we came out. We were thankful to God that we got saved but as soon as we saw the scenes of bloodshed and brutality in the mosque, I fell on the ground unconscious and was taken away by our Khuddam brothers to the ambulance.”   

The scene outside of Dar ul-Zikr, Lahore, on the day of the attack.

More than 80 worshippers were brutally martyred and another 120 were severely injured. Most of the victims were buried in the town of Rabwah, the official headquarters of Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan. The attack was condemned by many main stream media outlets and politicians but none of them attended the funeral services or visited the affected. Independent organisations claimed that this type of atrocity is primarily targeted to Ahmadis easily due to their constitutional ‘non-Muslim’ status. Today, on this day of 28 May 2020, we pledge allegiance to the martyrs of 28 May through our heartiest submissions. It is hard to believe that those terrorists were chanting slogans of Takbir while killing innocents on the day which is declared Yaum e Takbir officially by the government of Pakistan. However, under the divine guidance of our beloved Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed (aba), this community showed an immense example of patience and composure. There was no protest recorded, no official statements being made and no reports were lodged. This blessed Jama’at rested its case with the highest of courts, that of Allah Almighty. Fellow Ahmadi brothers hugged and consoled each other by saying,

“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V. 157)   

This agony created a state of restlessness in the community which was encountered by endless prayers seeking help and justice from Allah. Ahmadis all over the world became witness of this sacrifice that “O my martyr brother, you have set an example of the Sahaba of Uhud and enabled yourself to claim your place in the gardens of Jannah”. Huzoor (aba) also comforted the Jama’at on this occasion with the following words:

“Allah the Almighty is certainly capable of taking revenge from those who have tried to cause this collective harm. He knows better how He will show His Power, how He will catch those who commit this mischief and oppression. But may Allah make these people, who are repeatedly challenging the honour of God and are increasing in oppression, a sign and example for people; Insha-Allah, it will happen.” (Friday Sermon, 28 May 2010) 

Today as we witness the completion of these ten years of this incident, we can surely feel that this sacrifice did not restrict the progress of this blessed Jama’at. In fact, this community qualified themselves among the ones following the footsteps of the Holy prophet (sa) and the Sahaba (ra) as per the hadith. Today every Ahmadi can surely feel the wounds those takbir slogans inflicted them with. The love for ‘Takbir’ however, will still be there.

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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).

Khuddam reciting the pledge before Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V at National Ijtema 2021.

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:

  1. Life
  2. Wealth
  3. Time
  4. Honour

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.

Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih III leading Khuddam in the pledge. The Khuddam pledge is as old as the organisation itself.

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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Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Graces Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK Games

Mercy For Mankind MKA Games – The Full Report

On Sunday 4 July 2021 Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK organised the first in-person event after lockdown as a charity fundraiser. The Mercy4Mankind event took place on the school fields of Waverly Abbey Primary School adjacent to Islamabad.

A total of 14 sporting competitions were organised as part of the day from a slow bike race to tug-of-war with Khuddam participating in them throughout the day. This was the first in-person event of this size since the beginning of the pandemic and saw a registered attendance of 268.

A live stream for viewers at home was organised from Aiwan-e-Mahmood with reporting live from the field also taking place—walking the viewers through the various competitions on offer.

A total of £23,000 was raised under the Mercy4Mankind Charity Challenge which was setup in Khuddamul Ahmadiyya with M4M celebrating the teachings of love and mercy presented by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.

By far the highlight of the day was when Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba graced the occasion with 3 exhibition competitions taking place before Huzooraba. This was the first time most Khuddam had seen Huzoor in person since the lockdown began and many were overjoyed at the opportunity. The finals of the Bike Race, Slow Bike Race and Tug-of-War took place before Huzooraba, as well as an exhibition match between National Amla and Regional Qaideen. Huzooraba remained with Khuddam until the end of the competitions and led everyone into silent prayer.

The pandemic has been difficult for many, this event was described by many as a much needed gathering to re-kindle the Khuddam spirit of brotherhood. Of course, seeing Huzooraba brought a whole new feeling to the event.

 

 

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Inspirational Accounts of Pioneering Life Devotees of Ahmadiyyat

When the Holy Prophetsa declared his prophethood to the people of Arabia, they turned against him. Those who were once his dear friends became thirsty for his blood, so much so that they set a bounty for his capture. On the other hand, there were some who supported him and stood by his side like in the battle of Badr [the first battle fought in Islam]. There were some who, despite having only the very basic necessities of life, opted to go on preaching campaigns. This was merely because of the level of trust that they had in God Almighty, that whatever should happen to them, God would not waste their faith.

One of the moving incidents found in the history of Islam is Hazrat Imranra, whose entire family was martyred in front of his eyes but he did not let go of his trust in God, and as a result the Holy Prophetsa gave him the glad tidings that his family are in paradise.

The dedication of life at that time required the person to lay his life down for the propagation of Islam through defensive wars and other confrontations but as time elapsed, there became a change in the nature of dedication. Once the Holy Prophetsa assigned companions to teach the Holy Qur’an to some people of a certain tribe, and seventy huffaz [people who have memorised the entire Qur’an] were appointed for this task. They had no idea of what the future held for them. They presented their lives for the pleasure of God Almighty. Later there was a conflict and many were martyred.

The meaning of dedicating one’s life in accordance to the custom of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at is to serve the Jama’at whilst leaving behind all worldly desires and to take the service of the Jama’at as one’s prime objective keeping only the pleasure of God Almighty in mind. After dedication, there remains no room for personal desires or preferences, rather the life of the devotee becomes the property of the Jama’at. The following is a verse from the Holy Qur’an:

قُلْ اِنَّ صَلَاتِيْ وَ نُسُکِيْ وَ مَحْيَايَ وَ مَمَاتِيْ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الْعٰلَمِيْنَ ۝

“Say, ‘My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” [6:163]

In accordance with this verse, the first devotee in the Ahmadiyya Jama’at was Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddinra, who moved to Qadian at the instruction of the Promised Messiahas.

Upon receiving a letter from Batala (a city in India), which read “Come and tend to a patient”, he replied “I am no longer the owner of my decisions, rather without the permission of the Promised Messiahas I cannot leave my position”. Therefore the sender acquired the permission of the Promised Messiahas to accompany Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddinra with him to Batala which was graciously granted.

On another occasion it has been reported that Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddinra said that “After coming to Qadian, I never thought of my hometown and thought of Qadian as my final destination.

In September 1907, the Promised Messiahas initiated the “Life devotee” campaign and 13 people signed up for it in the early stages. On mentioning the qualities of Life devotes, Huzooras said “They should be content and wealth should not bother them, when the Holy Prophetsa sent someone for a Tabligh campaign, the appointee would prepare himself instantly for the task without demanding any allowance for the journey, nor making an excuse of longing for their families. This work can only be undertaken by such a person who dedicates himself for Allah the Almighty. God helps righteous people from Himself, as they take on a life of hardship for His sake.

Expanding further on the qualities of life devotees, the Promised Messiahas stated that “They should be those who are patient and steadfast. There should be no negative enthusiasm in their nature. They should have the power to answer all hate speech with love. If they feel at risk of facing dishonesty or being deceived then they should leave such company or environment. They should keep doing their appointed tasks quietly and willingly”.

These are some of the qualities that the life devotees of this era should always keep in mind and act in accordance with to be counted as the successful. Some faith inspiring incidents of early life devotees are laid out below that show how they all manifest the qualities which were expected of a true life devotee.

Firstly, we begin with the account of Mubarak Ahmad Nazir, Missionary of Canada. On relating an interesting incident of his father when Mubarak Ahmad Nazir was eleven years of age, he said that “My father, Al Hajj Maulavi Nazir Ahmad Alira was a pioneering Missionary of Islam Ahmadiyyat. In 1945, I accompanied my father to Sierra Leone on a ship through a perilous journey. It took about three months from Qadian (India) to go to Sierra Leone and during this time I became seriously ill because of that long journey. I remember when we were about to board the ship, every passenger had to be checked by a doctor to make sure that they are fit to travel. When I went for my check up, the doctor looked at me, took my temperature, assessed me and evaluated my condition, and he told my father (Maulavi Nazir Ahmad Alira) ‘This boy I cannot carry… because he is at the point of death and in our ship we don’t have a cold storage room. I will only carry him under one condition that you sign on this paper that if he dies on the way, you will allow us to throw him overboard.’ I was the only son and I remember my mother started crying and said ‘Let’s take another ship.’ My father said ‘Don’t worry about him! Nothing is going to happen.’ He said ‘I don’t know when I will get another ship, I’m a Missionary, and I’ve been assigned a duty by His Holiness.’ I faintly remember he held my hand and he asked the doctor ‘Where do I have to sign?’ and whilst signing he jokingly or quiet sternly also said ‘If he dies throw him into the sea, but nothing will happen to him!’ Mubarak Ahmad Nazir ends on the note that the eleven year old child [pointing to himself] now is Alhamdulillah eighty five years old.”

This incident expresses that if you put your trust in God, for His cause, then He will also help you in your trials and tribulations. The fact of the matter is you should not lose hope at the first sign of difficulty. Zahoor Hussainra of Bukhara was another missionary, who travelled to Russia and faced trial and persecution. He reports that whilst in prison he saw the second Khalifara in a vision and Hazrat Musleh Maudra scolded him saying that “I have sent you to preach and you are quiet.” Upon this, he felt ashamed, and started to learn Russian with some of the inmates who knew the language. He was later freed and returned to India.

The lesson to be learnt here is that regardless of the circumstances, one should not get hopeless, rather he should make the best of what he is confronted with, like in this example of imprisonment where learning a language was the last thing anyone could have thought of, yet Maulana Zahoor Hussainra took this time and made use of it. He learnt the language by talking to others and not worrying about what would happen to him in that state of capture. Only he who trusts in God has the strength to carry out these tasks despite such overwhelming tribulation.

A similar incident is found when, on 15 February 1920, Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, arrived at the port of Philadelphia by ship from London as the first Missionary. As soon as he arrived, the immigration officer interviewed him and asked the reason for his arrival. He said that he had come to this region as a preacher of Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam. At that time, it was not customary to obtain a visa before coming to the United States. The immigration officer admitted people and allowed them to enter, but sometimes some people were barred from entering and were sent back.

A long interview was conducted with Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra in which he was asked if he believes in polygamy like other Muslims. Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra replied with full confidence that yes I have the same belief as what Hazrat Jibrailra revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, the Messenger of God, in our Holy Book, the Holy Qur’an. The immigration officer asked, “Will you also preach this polygamy here?” To which he replied, “Of course I will.” The immigration officer said “You know, it’s against our law.” To this he replied that we Ahmadi Muslims do not do anything against the law, but these laws are made by human beings based on mutual understanding and they also change. On this the immigration officer denied him entry to America saying that if he spread his teachings and changed the environment, he would make a mess in America. Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra  politely asked the immigration officer if there was another option available to him. The immigration officer said you would be arrested and brought before a judge and they will prosecute you for refusing to obey the officer. He replied, “I accept this second option.” He was arrested that evening and sent to prison.

Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra waited for the trial in jail and spent this time preaching to other prisoners, and sent the report to Hazrat Musleh Maudra. Almost every day he would write a letter to Huzoorra and send a report of his preaching by post. During his time in prison, according to some reports, he had converted between seventeen and twenty-two people to Ahmadiyyat.

When he was brought before the judge, the judge was very impressed with his personality and the way he dressed and after an interesting conversation, the judge allowed him to enter the United States legally. Meanwhile, he also received enthusiastic replies through letters from Hazrat Musleh Maudra, in which it was announced that no power in the world could stop him from entering the United States. Henceforth, he established the first mission in Philadelphia.

This was again the level of trust and honesty with God Almighty that led to him entering a land legally where preaching was against the law. He not only preached but converted many people to Ahmadiyyat before even stepping onto US soil.

The last account presented in this piece is the account of a Missionary had who travelled to Spain. Due to the lack of financial resources of the community, Hazrat Musleh Maudra requested many of the missionaries stationed in Europe, to return home. Maulana Qamar Ilahi Zafar, having read the message from the Khalifahra, wrote back requesting permission to continue to work as a self-financed missionary. After receiving permission from Huzoorra, he worked as a street vendor selling homemade perfumes, primarily in El Rastro, an open-air market in Madrid. He often used his stalls as an opportunity to introduce the Islamic faith. For example, he reportedly used to chant,

Huelan esta fragancia tan agradable, sin embargo esta fragancia no durará

mucho tiempo entre vosotros, pero yo conozco un aroma que es permanente y eterno.

Si lo desean, pueden tomar mi tarjeta y contactarme

Meaning that “The pleasant fragrance that you are smelling does not last long, but I know of a scent that is permanent and eternal [i.e. Islamic teachings]. If you wish, you can take my card and contact me.” Under the rule of Francisco Franco, non-Catholic missionary work was banned and as a result Maulana Qamar Ilahi Zafar faced several arrests by the state police. Often, his perfume stall was subjected to vandalism from members of the general public. In spite of this, he managed to publish a number of books in Spanish during the Franco era.

Thus, we learn what the true essence of devotion means and what it takes to fulfil it, looking up on several key pioneering Missionaries, to understand how they stepped outside their comfort zones to spread the teaching of the true Islam. They have set the bar for all to follow. They have laid out the guide posts in which we can shape our lives and try to become devotees of the same calibre.

 

May Allah bless these souls and enable us to follow their footsteps. Ameen.

 

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