After arriving at Baitur Rahman late on 20th June, we stayed for just over a week until 28th June. For the first time on the tour there was not much travelling for a few days at least. In fact the only time we left the Baitur Rahman complex during the entire week was on the 27th when Hazur‐Aqdas went to address a function arranged at Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
One thing being in Hazur’s Qafila certainly teaches is self‐discipline. During that week many friends and relatives often invited me to visit them or encouraged me to go shopping or do some tourist activities. They would say that there must be some free time. I cannot deny that on a couple of occasions I was tempted and thought for a few moments that ‘I am personally free for couple of hours now so perhaps I could go out and see some of the local area or visit a friend’.
But whenever such thoughts entered my mind I used to remind myself that I was part of Hazur’s entourage and was not there for pleasure but for work. If I had sought permission to leave the premises for an hour or two, I probably would have gained it but I knew that in my heart that I would feel anxious and restless at having left my duty.
Whilst those thoughts did enter my mind in the first few days, over the course of the tour they became less and less. Indeed by the end of the tour I had no desire to go out on any personal activity, my genuine desire was to stay with the Qafila at all times.
In this respect I did feel that I was able to develop a self‐discipline which was another blessing of travelling with the Khalifa, Alhamdolillah.
I can also say that I never once saw any of the other staff and security members who travelled with Hazur‐Aqdas from London display any frustration or desire to visit family or to see the local cities.
The fact that we were remaining on the Baitur Rahman complex for the vast majority of our stay in Maryland did not mean that there was not much activity taking place, in fact quite the contrary.
The schedule of Hazur‐Aqdas each day was completely full. From morning until evening each day Hazur’s schedule would involve meeting countless Ahmadi families in Mulaqat; various Amila meetings took place; classes with Waqf‐e‐ Nau and Waqfat‐e‐Nau; classes with Ahmadi male and female students and hundreds of children were able to do their Aameens with Hazur‐Aqdas. These were just a few of the many internal programmes during that week.
Furthermore, a number of non‐Ahmadi dignitaries visited the Mosque to meet Hazur during the course of the week.
Hazur‐Aqdas also used to receive countless letters, both personal and official, each day which he used to read and reply to.
I myself used to send official letters to Hazur almost every day in which I would request his guidance or approval for various things related to my work. Each letter would return the next day or in some instances the very same day.
Sometimes Hazur‐Aqdas would tick and sign the letters to acknowledge that he had read them and to approve whatever I had submitted, whilst on some came handwritten notes and instructions. The same process was undertaken for all other letters that Hazur received.
Many of us who were present used to sit in genuine astonishment at how one man could undertake so much work. With absolute conviction I can say that no other man could fulfil such intense and relentless schedules. I say that not as an Ahmadi who loves the Khalifa, but leaving that aside and looking entirely impartially, I have no doubt in my mind that the amount of time and energy Hazur‐Aqdas devotes for his Jamaat will not be equalled by any other person, in any organisation throughout the world.
Of course Hazur‐Aqdas is a human being but it is due to Allah’s support that he is able to sustain such relentless levels of work. The other reason I believe that Hazur‐Aqdas is able to sustain such high levels of work is because of his unparalleled love for the Jamaat. Meeting hundreds of Ahmadis daily, reading their letters, giving them guidance is not just a duty but something that the Khalifa enjoys due to his consummate love for the Jamaat. He is truly selfless, whereby his happiness comes from the happiness of others. The Khalifa feels the joy of his fellow Ahmadis as though it was his own joy and conversely feels the pain of his fellow Ahmadis as though it was his pain.
On a personal level I was pleased when my wife arrived at Baitur Rahman on 25th June with her parents. For the next couple of days they would come in the evenings at Maghreb and Isha time. After Namaz I would bring two plates of food to a bench just outside the Mosque and we would both sit and eat our
evening meal together. During those few minutes I would tell her about the events of that day or previous days on the tour.
I would often mention the Ahmadis who came for Mulaqat and their feelings of joy after meeting with Hazur. I used to tell her how on a daily basis I would see dozens of grown men and women with tears rolling down their faces, unable to control their emotions after meeting with Hazur.