It was in early May 2018 that I first heard that Huzoor (aba) was planning to visit the United States and that it was also possible Huzoor would travel to Guatemala to inaugurate a hospital being built by Humanity First.
However, sometimes rumours spread which are not accurate. For as many tours as I have travelled with Huzoor, there have been at least as many rumours of tours that proved without foundation.
On other occasions, Huzoor planned to travel for a foreign tour but for certain reasons Huzoor later cancelled or delayed his plans to travel abroad. Thus, whilst I hoped the reports were accurate, it was not until a few days later that I realised the possibility of Huzoor travelling to the United States and Guatemala was not mere speculation but a firm plan.
It was late May or early June when I reported for Mulaqat with Huzoor. After presenting my daily media briefing, I continued to sit in Huzoor’s office for a few minutes, as Huzoor went through his work files.
Perhaps, Huzoor had read a report pertaining to the United States because after a moment, Huzoor looked up from his work and mentioned his upcoming visit.
“A few days ago, the USA Jamaat sent a proposed outline travel itinerary for my visit to USA and Guatemala in October but there were many changes that were required, which I have now sent back to them. For example, they had proposed that I travel on a Friday morning to Philadelphia and inaugurate the Mosque and lead the Jumma prayers on the same day as travel. However, I do not like to travel a long distance on Jumma and there are practical issues, as well, such as if we get stuck in traffic I could be late for Jumma.”
Huzoor further said:
“Another change I made was that in the proposed programme, there was no Jumma scheduled at Baitur Rahman but there should be at least one in the national headquarters of the Jamaat. Thus, the final Friday of the tour, I have instructed should be held there.”
In reply, Huzoor smiled and said:
“Yes, but I changed that part of the trip as well! The USA Jamaat had proposed that I spend three or four days in Guatemala so that I could do some sightseeing. They wanted to take me to a famous lake (Lake Atitlan) but that part of the programme would have taken at least two days and those days can be better spent meeting more Ahmadi families in the USA.”
Though at that point, I had no idea if I was going to have the honour to travel with Huzoor, I still remember feeling a tinge of regret in my heart that we would not be seeing the famous lake! Thankfully, that moment where my thoughts were clouded by personal interest and personal desire lasted only a few seconds. Thereafter, I remember thinking how selfless was the character and nature of beloved Huzoor.
Rather than take the opportunity to visit a famous lake, considered to be amongst the most stunning and breathtaking in the world, Huzoor preferred to give his time to the Jamaat so that more Ahmadis had the opportunity to meet him.