Finally, before leaving the city, the Qafila drove to the seaport where Mufti Muhammad Sadiq sahib, the first Missionary of the United States, had landed almost a century earlier in 1920.
The next morning, several groups, including the local Amila, had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Huzoor.
Huzoor said: “Someone had told me that the minaret was too wide but I think it is very attractive and appropriate.”
Another person attending was Senator Sharif Street, a member of Pennsylvania’s State Senate.
Amongst the people I met, one person I will not forget was a middle-aged African-American lady, a practicing Christian, called Anetta Curry.
Speaking about the Baitul Aafiyyat Mosque itself, Huzoor said: “It will prove a beacon of light and hope to all peace-loving people, irrespective of their caste, creed or colour.”
Rather unbelievably when the person due to give Tilawat was called to the podium he did not come forward and for a few moments there was a lot of confusion.
A journalist from the Philadelphia Inquirer asked Huzoor if he had been able to sample any of the local food.
At exactly 5pm, Huzoor came to his office and noticed that the chairs were arranged in the same way they would be for a ‘family Mulaqat’, with Huzoor sitting at his desk across from the guests.
A friend of mine told me that two days before Huzoor’s arrival in Philadelphia he observed a devoted member of the Philadelphia Jamaat, Syed Fazal Ahmed sitting in the basement of the Mosque after midnight with tears in his eyes.
With the Grace of Allah, later that day, Huzoor inaugurated the Baitul Aafiyyat Mosque in Philadelphia with his Friday Sermon.
“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?”
Another person to meet Huzoor in Philadelphia was an African-American convert to Islam, Mahershala Ali.
Throughout Huzoor’s visit to the United States, I saw several young students from Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada who followed Huzoor wherever he was.
Another family to meet Huzoor were Jibraeel Adu Farid (62) and his wife Bridget Adu Farid, originally from Ghana but now living in New York.
Another person to meet Huzoor for the first time was Jennifer Chaudhry, an American convert to Islam. She met Huzoor along with her husband Tarik Chaudhry and their young children.
Later that day, and again the following day, Huzoor met Ahmadis in family Mulaqat sessions.
Our first few hours in Philadelphia were somewhat confusing and there was a degree of disorganisation.
Huzoor had only been in the United States for around 36 hours but his itinerary was such that the following morning, on 17 October 2018, Huzoor departed from Baitur Rahman and travelled to Philadelphia.
“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.”
The morning after arriving in America, Huzoor came out of his residence where Ameer Sahib USA and other office bearers of the USA Jamaat were waiting to escort Huzoor on a tour of the entire Mosque premises.
Huzoor’s car stopped near the entrance of the Baitur Rahman Mosque and as Huzoor stepped out of his car, the local Ahmadi Muslims got their first chance to see Huzoor.
With the Grace of Allah, after a journey lasting around seven and a half hours, the flight safely arrived at Dulles airport.
Most of the Qafila members, including me, left the Fazl Mosque after a silent prayer at 1.20pm, whilst Huzoor and Khala Saboohi (Huzoor’s respected wife) departed at 2.55pm.
I also mentioned that Ghana Jamaat were holding their first ever ‘National Peace Symposium’ in a few days and had requested a written message from Huzoor to be read out at the symposium.
As Huzoor returned to Masjid Fazl after the conclusion of the Majlis Ansarullah Ijtema, he continued his daily activities and meetings in London, but also started preparing for his forthcoming tour.
After travelling to Germany and Belgium in September, Huzoor returned to London and on consecutive weekends, Huzoor attended the National Ijtemas of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK, Lajna Imaillah UK and Majlis Ansarullah UK.
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.
Huzoor’s Tour of the United States and Guatemala; October-November 2018
In a faith inspiring and emotional address, His Holiness reminded Ahmadi Muslims of their duty to uphold the highest standards of morality at all times.
Landmark event as state of the art hospital built by Humanity First opens in Guatemala
In today’s materialistic world, his words hold even greater importance because people are moving away from faith and becoming increasingly materialistic.
“Now is the time to show our humanity and to spare no efforts in developing peace in our communities, in our nations and indeed throughout the world”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad says the Mosque “will prove a beacon of light and hope to all peace-loving people”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad travels to Central America for the very first time
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivers the Friday Sermon from Baitul Aafiyat Mosque
“We seek to build ties of friendship with non-Ahmadis and non-Muslims. We strive for inter-faith dialogue.”
In all respects, dialogue is crucial to breaking down barriers and increasing mutual understanding and knowledge.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad travels to inaugurate Baitul Aafiyat Mosque
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad greeted by 2,000 Ahmadi Muslims