It was the morning of 19 October 2019 and the day when the Baitul Aafiyyat Mosque was to be inaugurated by Huzoor.
In Philadelphia, the person given the duty to drive Qafila members to and from our hotel was a Khadim from Virginia called Harris Raja. That morning, as we returned to the hotel after Fajr, Harris suggested I join him for breakfast at a nearby diner.
As soon as we entered the diner, I felt as though I had been taken back in time to my childhood watching American television programmes. The diner was quintessentially American with booths on each side and waitresses who walked around the diner with a coffee pot ever ready to pour and re-fill, just as I had seen on American programmes.
I ordered a ‘small’ order of pancakes and a few minutes later, the waitress came back with a plate stacked high with pancakes the size of small tyres! Before, I even started to eat, I asked the waitress to bring me a box so I could pack most of it up!
The breakfast was delicious and over the next hour I had a very interesting conversation with Harris. He asked many questions about Huzoor and serving near Khilafat.
One question he asked was one I had not been asked before. He said:
“When you are travelling with Huzoor people automatically respect you and you are looked after. How do you ensure that you stay humble and do not reach a stage where you expect such protocol?”
After a moment’s pause and reflection, I said:
“Under normal circumstances, it might be difficult to stay on an even keel but in our case Huzoor keeps a very close watchful eye on those who are near him or travel with him. He constantly guides us with his own humble and selfless example. Our greatest fear is we act in a way that is displeasing to Huzoor or which could reflect badly upon him.”