The fourth year students would often wait for very long periods standing outside to ensure they were in a prime position to see Huzoor when he walked to the Mosque or his office.
Invariably, they always had a smile on their faces knowing they were observing historic moments and especially on those days when Huzoor saw them and smiled or waved in their direction.
One of the students was Haasher Ahmed with whom I spent a few minutes talking in Philadelphia. He told me why and how, he and his class fellows had come to America.
Haasher said that most of his class had travelled to the UK in their summer holidays to attend the Jalsa and to do Waqf-e-Arzi. They were hoping to have a ‘class Mulaqat’ with Huzoor and to be given duties at the Fazl Mosque so that they could see Huzoor daily and pray behind him, but were instructed to serve at Jamia Ahmadiyya UK, which is an hour’s drive from the Fazl Mosque.
Haasher said they were initially disheartened and in their personal Mulaqats with Huzoor expressed their desire to be physically closer to him. However, Huzoor instructed that they continue with the duties allocated to them but also reassured them that they would have many opportunities to be near him in the future, Insha’Allah.
Explaining how their efforts had been blessed, Haasher said:
“The day after Huzoor arrived we saw the fulfilment of all those prayers that we had made in the summer in the UK. Huzoor was doing an inspection of the Baitur Rahman complex and at one point Huzoor saw us standing near the langhar khana tent. Upon seeing our eager faces, Huzoor specially stopped and spoke to us affectionately. Huzoor recognised us from our recent visit to the UK and those moments felt like the ‘class Mulaqat’ that we had hoped for in the UK!”
“Later, when we reflected on those moments we realised that Huzoor’s words had come true when he said in London that we would have more opportunities to be near him in the future! It was a lesson for us that physical proximity does not necessarily equate to a stronger relationship with Khilafat but, rather sincerity, obedience and prayer are what create a lasting relationship with Khilafat.”
After telling me about their time in America, Haasher told me about a personal tragedy he and his family had recently faced.
Given the smile and happy demeanour that Haasher normally exhibited, I would never have guessed the pain and grief they had experienced.
Haasher’s elder sister Manahil Ahmed had been diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016 and fought the illness with courage and patience.
In the summer when Haasher met Huzoor in London he had mentioned his sister’s illness and sought Huzoor’s prayers. Haasher told me that Huzoor asked in detail about her condition and prayed for her and lovingly reassured Haasher.
Narrating what transpired, Haasher said:
“A few weeks ago, my sister, Manahil Ahmed passed away at the age of 23 on 15 September 2018, Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajeoon. However, during her final days and since then I have seen how those reassuring words of Huzoor were fulfilled. My sister was at peace and constantly told us she was happy with whatever God had decreed for her and had no regret or anguish with her illness.”
“My sister loved Huzoor and she encouraged us to all maintain a strong connection with Khilafat. Before she passed away, she left three messages for us to convey to Huzoor. The first message was to convey her greeting of ‘Assalamo Alaikum’ to Huzoor. The second message was that she wanted to apologise to Huzoor that she was unable to meet him and her third and final message was that Huzoor would pray that may Allah grant her forgiveness and elevate her station in Heaven.”
Hearing her three messages for Huzoor and the incredible levels of patience and gratitude shown by his sister was extremely emotional. I thought of how often we do not know the pain and problems faced by other people.
Yet, the one person who knows our problems, who shoulders our burdens, who knows our pain and is the source of comfort for Ahmadis across the world is Khalifa-Waqt.
Reflecting on the comfort Huzoor’s words had provided his family, Haasher said:
“In the summer Huzoor reassured me that everything will be ok and every time I recall those words I remember that it truly was God’s blessings and Huzoor’s prayers that helped us to get through this difficult time with patience and steadfastness. It showed me how vast the acceptance of prayers can be.”
“I left that Mulaqat in the summer thinking something else but now it is evident that those words of comfort were for this time, after my sister’s passing. Huzoor’s words and prayers granted us comfort beyond words. Whenever Huzoor speaks there is great wisdom behind it, sometimes which we may not understand right away, but through Allah’s blessings, the meaning is opened to us over time.”