Following Namaz and lunch, the first session of family Mulaqats was held on Tuesday, 16 October. Throughout the next three weeks, the vast majority of people who met Huzoor in Mulaqat were those who had never met him before.
Telling me about the Mulaqat, Dr Nuru-din Akindele sahib said:
“Huzoor is the father of all of us. His natural warmth warms our hearts and he treats us like his own children. Huzoor is only two or three years older than me but Allah has made him my father by bestowing upon him the spiritual status of Khilafat. In a time of darkness, he is a beacon of light. No matter where we are from, Huzoor understands us, he knows who we are and what we are. Meeting him makes me want to be a better person, to do more for the cause of Allah, to be always truthful and to increase my devotion to the Jamaat of the Promised Messiah (as).”
After meeting Huzoor, Humayun Sami sahib said:
“My first impression is that in one minute, Huzoor gave me and my family more love than I ever thought was possible. In one minute, he gave us all that we will ever need. Huzoor is the Head of the Jamaat, and as such is so busy and has a great status, yet he carefully listened to whatever we had to say even though we are worthless people.”
Humayun sahib’s wife, Mansoora Humayun told me that her brother and her uncle had both been martyred in Pakistan and that she had mentioned this to Huzoor.
Mansoora Humayun sahiba said:
“As soon as I told Huzoor that my brother had been martyred, Huzoor took out an ‘Alais’Allah’ ring and said ‘I am giving this to you because you are the sister of a martyr’. I was so emotional and I will never forget the message that Huzoor wished to remind me of that Allah is always sufficient for us no matter what trials we face.’”
Mansoora sahiba told me that the loss of her brother had been very hard for their family. Her elder sister had been extremely grief-stricken and during that period she contracted meningitis. Yet, despite the pain they felt, Mansoora sahiba felt only pride at the sacrifices made by her relatives.
Mansoora sahiba said:
“During their lives, my brother and uncle both said that they were ready to give their lives for the sake of the Jamaat and they proved it and now those of us left behind must live our lives with the same spirit of devotion.”
Another person who met Huzoor was Ramsey Koojo (41), a Ugandan man who had converted to Ahmadiyyat in 2016. His wife was not an Ahmadi but he was raising his two sons, Issa (15) and Ibra (9) as Ahmadis.
After meeting Huzoor for the first time, they each shared their experiences with me.
Ramsey Koojo sahib said:
“The thing that impressed me the most was how humble Huzoor is. He is the worldwide leader of the Jamaat and has such a high status, yet he spoke casually and lovingly even with my children. He showed them love and by showing them love, he showed me love. Today, I met with an exemplary religious leader who has increased my faith in Islam.”
After meeting Huzoor, his elder son, Issa told me about the Mulaqat and his own personal aspirations for the future. He said:
“Today was a very inspirational day for me to meet Huzoor and I felt so welcome in his presence. Huzoor is like a pure light and when you are near him that light infuses you and makes you a stronger Ahmadi. It is my desire to serve Islam and to make the world a little bit better by spreading the real message of Islam.”
I also met an Ahmadi lady, Jariatu Haja Sankoh from Sierra Leone, who had met Huzoor along with her elderly mother Haja Kadiatu Kargbo and her young daughter.
Jariatu sahiba told me that her parents had been amongst the pioneers of the Sierra Leone Jamaat, as her father, Al-Haji Amadu Sankoh, had accepted Ahmadiyyat in the 1940s. Sadly, her father had passed away in 2017 but seeing Huzoor had provided a great deal of solace and comfort.
Jariatu sahiba said:
“I have been in the United States for 15 years but today was the first time I ever had the chance to meet Huzoor. I do not wish to cry in front of you but I cannot help but be emotional after seeing Huzoor. Last year, I lost my father but today I met my other father, the one who loves me and cares for me more than anyone else. Huzoor is my dad and my everything.”
Jariatu sahiba continued:
“It had always been a dream of my father that I meet Huzoor and so I am sure that his soul will be happy today. He was a very passionate Ahmadi and used to go from village to village in Sierra Leone to preach the message of Islam. Due to his devotion to Ahmadiyyat he faced a lot of opposition and was rejected and shunned by many people. However, he lived his life according to the motto ‘Love for all, Hatred for None’.”
I spoke with Jariatu sahiba’s mother, Haja Kadiatu sahiba. She spoke in her local African language, whilst her daughter translated into English. She told me about the persecution she and her husband had faced due to their belief in the Promised Messiah (as).
Haja Kadiatu sahiba said:
“We faced a great deal of opposition when we did Tabligh in different villages in Sierra Leone and people would stay away from us. However, no matter what we always said ‘Alhamdolillah’ that we had been able to accept the Promised Messiah (as).”
Haja Kadiatu sahiba continued:
“Today, I also met Khalifatul Masih for the first time and I feel so blessed. I feel as though I have been healed and cleansed. It is, without any doubt, the happiest day of my life. I am an old woman and I thought that I will never get to meet him. I look forward to going back to Sierra Leone so that I can proudly tell people that I met Huzoor and had a photo taken with him.”
Another person to meet Huzoor was an African American convert, Davina Anisha. She was born in New York but her family originated from the small central American country of Belize. She was now working as a teacher in Maryland.
Telling me about accepting Ahmadiyyat, Davina Anisha sahiba said:
“I accepted Ahmadiyyat earlier this year on my 38th birthday. I love our message of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ and I love the Promised Messiah (as) and I love his Fifth Khalifa very dearly. I feel like I have found my tribe!”
Davina Anisha sahiba continued:
“It was amazing to see Huzoor today. He is so pleasant and soft and he met my young kids with so much affection. I felt blessed to be in Huzoor’s presence and he gifted me a pen, which has his name on it. I will treasure it for the rest of my life.”