Our Khalifa – My Journey to Meet the Khalifa (aba)

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I have always wanted to meet beloved Huzoor (aba), ever since I was young. Seeing that we lived in Pakistan, I used to think of how we could go to meet him. I would pray as well, that I may be able to meet Huzoor (aba) very soon and receive his prayers. My family had the opportunity to go to Qadian in 2005 for the Annual Convention; I was 11 years old at the time. When I heard that beloved Huzoor (aba) would also be there, I was ecstatic and I immediately thought of receiving love and prayers from him. We went for Jalsa and I was very happy upon seeing Huzoor (aba). A few days later, I found out that Huzoor (aba) was in Masjid Mubarak and granting a Musafa (handshake) to members of the community. As soon as my father found out he took me and we went to Masjid Mubarak, eagerly waiting in anticipation. When my turn came, Huzoor (aba) kindly placed his blessed hand on my head and then on my cheek. When I saw that Huzoor (aba) had a Mars chocolate bar in his hand, I became even happier thinking that he might give it to me, and he did. I was elated and could not wait to eat the chocolate bar. Huzoor (aba) saw my state of utter joy and smiled, as he took my hand and said, ‘Now you can go.’ Ever since that day, I can never forget Huzoor’s smiling face, and my heart longed to meet him again, for at that time I was just a young boy, and so I have always desired to have a mulaqat (private audience) with Huzoor (aba).
Seven years ago, after I was granted admission into Jamia Ahmadiyya Rabwah (Ahmadiyya Institute for Languages and Theology), the thought occurred to me one day as I returned from the library where a picture of beloved Huzoor (aba) was displayed, that I must meet beloved Huzoor (aba) at least once in my life. Since that day, I prayed a great deal and beseeched God with great pain in my heart that ‘O God! You have power over all things and hear the prayers of even the weak. Accept my prayer and grant me a mulaqat with my beloved Imam.’ I continued praying with the same pain and with great hope that God would accept my prayer. Whenever I went to the library and saw the picture of beloved Huzoor (aba), I would pray the same prayer, that just once, let me meet him.
I began my studies in Jamia. It was during this time that some Maulvis (clerics) attacked my family, and my brothers were subsequently imprisoned in the way of Allah. I was still living in Jamia while all this was happening. I constantly wrote letters to beloved Huzoor (aba) and I would receive responses as well, and this way, my heart would be at ease.

One day, I received a letter from beloved Huzoor (aba) in which he instructed that my family should try to leave Pakistan, and Allah would bless our efforts. And so, my father, mother, younger brother and sister applied for visas to America, and by the grace of God, they went to America, and then later according to the guidance of beloved Huzoor (aba), they went to Canada.

Once in Canada, my parents expressed their desire for me to request permission from beloved Huzoor to join them in Canada, but as an aspiring missionary who has dedicated his life, it did not seem right to me, that I should write such a letter asking for permission. So with this in mind, I would tell my parents that I cannot write this letter, I will pray instead. And so I prayed, that ‘O God, I am weak, and only You know if it is better for me to remain here or not. So guide me as to whether I should do as my parents desire.’ Thus I would tell my parents whenever they would ask me, that God will bestow His blessings on us, whatever is best will happen, God-Willing!

Time passed by, I moved on into the third year and then the fourth. My professors continued encouraging me to pray for whatever was best. Then, one day, the Principal for the senior section received instructions from beloved Huzoor (aba) to record the details of all those students whose families were living outside of Pakistan. And so, my name and details were taken down.

One day, the Principal came to our class, called out my name, and told me to follow him to his office. Once in his office, he congratulated me, saying that beloved Huzoor had approved for me to join my family in Canada and transfer to Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada.

Upon seeing the letter of Huzoor’s (aba) approval, my eyes filled with tears and I thanked God. I called my father right away and told him the good news. Just two days after, I received a letter in which Huzoor (aba) inquired as to when I would be going to Canada. I replied saying that the sponsorship process would take some time, the length of which I am not sure. I would later receive another letter from my beloved Imam in which I was instructed to inform Jamia once I received my visa, and that I had permission to transfer to Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada.

Sometime later, I received my visa by the grace of God. Upon receiving it, the thought occurred to me that Huzoor (aba) often visits Canada, perhaps I will be able to meet Huzoor (aba) one day after all, and so I continued to pray. I arrived in Canada in March 2017, just after Huzoor’s (aba) 2016 tour of Canada. Though I was not able to see him, I continued to pray for an opportunity.

My new classmates in Jamia Canada informed me, that upon completing Jamia, the graduating class goes on a tour of different countries for the purpose of training in the field of work, and also spends time close to beloved Huzoor (aba). I was extremely happy upon hearing this – but I never stopped praying.

While I was studying in Jamia Canada, Huzoor (aba) visited the United States, and I thought that this would definitely be an opportunity for me to see beloved Huzoor (aba). Unfortunately, I could not get a visa in time and was not able to go. I cried every day, that ‘O God! I wanted to see my beloved Huzoor (aba), how will this be possible now?’

I would speak to my friends and inquire about Huzoor’s (aba) well-being, and upon ending the call, I would cry profusely, lamenting over the fact that I was not able to go, and prayed that God may grant me a single opportunity just to see him. These were very difficult days for me, but I pushed through by continuing to pray for an opportunity.

After completing the final examinations of Jamia, I was assigned to the offices for training. As I would come and go every day, the one thought that constantly ran through my mind was that the time to go see Huzoor (aba) is drawing near. I had applied for a visa to the UK, but since my classmates did not require visas, they were sent to the UK to begin their tour of the UK, Africa and Pakistan. Finally, when I got my visa for the UK, I was elated, that the time for meeting beloved Huzoor (aba) was drawing nearer and nearer.
First, I was sent to Sierra Leone for a month. I would constantly ask my classmates what Huzoor (aba) had said in the class mulaqat and in their personal mulaqats. I was also afraid that perhaps Huzoor (aba) may ask me something and I may not be able to answer, and so I would ask my classmates the things Huzoor (aba) had asked them so that I could try to prepare myself. Throughout my time in Africa, there was one thing on my mind; the time of going to my beloved Khalifa is drawing nearer.

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As I finally sat in the plane going to London, I could not sit still. Upon arriving, I was initially taken to the guest accommodation in Baitul Futuh. As Huzoor (aba) resides in Islamabad, I would ask around as to how long it takes to get to Islamabad, and if there was anyone going in that direction so that perhaps I could go along with them.

Then, I got a call that my accommodation had been arranged in Islamabad. I could not believe it, I was going to see Huzoor! I arrived in Islamabad the next day in time for Zuhr prayer (early afternoon prayer). I got ready and went to the mosque ahead of time.
The mosque was so quiet and peaceful, a kind of peace I had never experienced before. Then I heard Huzoor’s (aba) beautiful voice as he entered the mosque, say Assalam-o-Alaikum (peace be on you). Then, he proceeded to lead the prayer; I still remember, he was wearing a grey uchkin (traditional long-coat). He lead the prayer and it was so beautiful, calming and serene, and I enjoyed offering prayer more than I had ever before.

After the prayer, I went to the Private Secretary’s office to write a letter to Huzoor (aba) expressing my feelings of being there for the first time. I also asked the Private Secretary if it would be possible to have a mulaqat. He told me that I should keep praying. In the meantime, I was given some work to do in the Private Secretary’s office. I thanked God, as this way I would be able to write my own letters every day and establish a connection with Huzoor (aba) in this way as well.

One day, I found out that Huzoor (aba) had gone to Baitul Futuh to inspect the construction project underway. The thought occurred to me that perhaps I will be able to see Huzoor (aba) when he returns. And so I stood by the main scanning area in eager anticipation of seeing Huzoor (aba). As his motorcade arrived, I got an indication that perhaps Huzoor’s (aba) car will enter from the gate closer to his residence, and so I quickly went towards that gate. There was a slight drizzle at the time, but I did not mind, as I was the only one standing in the vicinity, and I would get the opportunity to see my beloved Huzoor (aba) and present my Salam (greeting of peace). However, as the cars approached closer, it became clear that they would enter from the same gate I was standing at before. There is some distance between the two gates, so I ran as fast as I could, and sure enough, I reached there just in time, as Huzoor’s (aba) car was turning in. When I looked up, I saw Huzoor’s (aba) smiling face, looking towards me and as I presented my Salam, he graciously responded. I was ecstatic; I was able to see Huzoor, and he saw me, and I was able to say Salam to him. All praise belongs to Allah!

The next day was my mulaqat. Originally, my mulaqat had been scheduled for a later date, however I would go to the office every day to see if there was an earlier time that had opened up. By the grace of God an earlier time had opened up, ten days before my scheduled mulaqat. This truly was God’s doing, as the originally scheduled date for my mulaqat was a day after mulaqats were halted due to the current pandemic. Had it stayed the same, I would not have been able to meet beloved Huzoor (aba).

By the grace of God, the day I had been waiting so long for was finally here. I was extremely nervous, I kept thinking, what if Huzoor (aba) asks me something and I am not able to respond? I spent the entire day reciting durood sharif (sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet (sa)).

Finally, it was time for my mulaqat. As I walked into the office, Huzoor (aba) said ‘Come in, come in.’ It was a most blessed mulaqat. I had taken a few items with me to present before Huzoor (aba). I had taken a bottle of cologne as a gift. I had placed it on Huzoor’s (aba) desk; when he saw it he inquired about it and where I had gotten it from. When I told Huzoor (aba), he said that it must have been a bit expensive. I replied saying that in fact, I had found it on sale for a lesser price. Upon hearing this, Huzoor (aba) was rather amused and he broadly smiled. Seeing this, my heart was elated! Huzoor (aba) opened the cologne and sprayed some on his hands, then placed it to the side. I had also taken some honey, which I presented to Huzoor (aba). Then Huzoor (aba) inquired as to whether I was married. I told him that I was, and that my wife is a Hafiza (someone who has committed the entire Qur’an to memory). When I told him this, beloved Huzoor (aba) smiled once again. He told me to show him my hand; he opened his drawer, took out an Alaisallah ring (a ring with the Arabic inscription ‘Is Allah not sufficient for His servant?’) and put it on my finger. Seeing that it was a little big for my finger, Huzoor (aba) took out another one and put it on my finger. This one was a little loose as well, so Huzoor (aba) said ‘you can tie a string to it’ in order to make it fit. Then I remembered that I had also brought many rings to be blessed by Huzoor (aba) for my family. I took them out, and Huzoor (aba) graciously took them in his hand.

As the mulaqat ended and my picture had been taken with beloved Huzoor (aba), I was beginning to leave, when Huzoor (aba) took hold of my hand, and with his other hand took the same perfume I had brought and he had sprayed on his hands. He handed it to me and said ‘This is a gift for you.’

I cannot begin to explain the happiness I felt. I could hardly contain myself. I was finally able to realize what I had dreamt of for so long. Whoever I saw after my mulaqat, I would tell them about the happiness I felt and as I related some portions to them, they would be just as happy for me. I called home and told my family of my mulaqat and they also told me that they had been praying the entire time.

This was possible only by the special Grace of God, for which I will never be able to offer enough thanks. ‘This is from the Grace of my Lord’.

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