By Arooba Zaffar
The Jalsa Salana, a spiritual gathering that brings Ahmadis together from all over the world, holds a special place in our hearts. For our family, it is not just an event; it is a treasure trove of memories of our beloved brother, Imam Mazhar Ahsan Ahmad. As we step onto the Jalsa site, memories of Mazhar come rushing back with the gentle breeze, and we find solace and joy in reliving those precious moments.
The anticipation builds as I scan the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mazhar’s smiling face. Suddenly, his familiar voice calls out my name, and his radiant smile brightens up my world. Excitement takes over, and I eagerly call out, “Bhai,” “Mazi Bhai,” momentarily forgetting that others might find it strange. Mazhar playfully hushes me with a smile, reminding me to be quiet. As he greets us after fulfilling his Jalsa duties, his eyes are filled with love and affection for his family. It is heartwarming to see him talk about his day, inquiring about ours, and surprising us with a bag of delicious snacks he bought for us. As the time for prayer approaches, we bid farewell to my brother Mazhar, planning to meet later and go back in the ladies’ Jalsa gah.
While waiting for the arrival of our beloved Huzoor (aba) for Salat, we engage in Zikr-e-Ilahi (remembrance of Allah). Suddenly, the familiar sound of the Azan fills the air—a soul-stirring melody that resonates deep within our hearts. It is my brother Mazhar reciting the Azan with such devotion and beauty that tears of gratitude and love well up in our eyes. Listening to his mesmerizing Azan, our hearts overflow with love for Allah Almighty. As beloved Huzoor (aba) arrives in the Jalsa Gah and calls for Takbir, Mazhar stands behind reciting Takbir in the presence of our beloved Huzoor (aba). In those sacred moments, we feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Allah Almighty, and our voices join together as we raise our hands to proclaim, “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest).
As my younger sister and I humbly serve in MTA, we often visit exhibitions to seek inspiration for writing articles for Jalsa Connect. As we pass by the flags of Jalsa, we secretly hope for a glimpse of our beloved brother Mazhar. It seems as if Allah Almighty is listening to our silent prayers, for suddenly, someone calls out to us from behind—it is Mazhar! Surprised yet delighted, he inquires about our presence. With joy in our hearts, we explain that we are researching articles for Jalsa Connect. Always protective of his sisters, Mazhar accompanies us and gives us a tour of all the exhibitions. The moments spent with him become cherished memories, as opportunities to meet during Jalsa can be rare due to his busy schedule.
Whenever I see a crowd of men, a sense of happiness fills me, knowing that my beloved Mazhar is somewhere in the midst, diligently fulfilling his duties. He is not just our brother; he is the beating heart of our family and a source of immense delight for all who know him.
At a young age, in his early twenties, my brother Mazhar returned to meet his Creator after recovering from an illness. “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return'” (Quran 2:155-156).
The void left by Mazhar’s departure prompted our family to fervently pray to Allah Almighty for a dream in which we could meet our beloved brother again. Allah, in His infinite mercy, granted our mother a beautiful dream. In her dream, she found herself on a flying saucer with no doors, arriving at a destination reminiscent of Jalsa—a grand spiritual gathering. Overwhelmed with joy, she saw Mazhar engrossed in his duties, focused on a paper, and engaged in conversation with someone. Calling out, “Mazhar,” “Mazhar,” her heartfelt words could not reach him, but the person next to Mazhar turned and smiled at her—it was our beloved Huzoor, Khalifat-ul-Masih IV, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh). Witnessing her son working alongside Huzoor filled her eyes with tears and her heart with love. Before Mazhar left with Huzoor, he handed a small paper to someone, who passed it to our mother. The paper read, “AssalamoAlaikum Mama,” flooding her with tears of love and gratitude to Allah Almighty.
Jalsa Salana is not just an event; it is a sanctuary of solace and contentment for our family. Within its embrace, we remember and cherish the memories of my brother Mazhar. We pray fervently to Allah Almighty, believing that Mazhar is enveloped in His loving embrace, residing in the true everlasting paradise filled with Allah’s love and compassion for His servants. The Jalsa, a realm beyond human comprehension, takes place in Allah Almighty’s kingdom, and our brother Mazhar remains under His divine protection. This realization brings comfort and peace to our hearts.
As we gather at Jalsa Salana each year, our hearts overflow with love and gratitude for the memories of our dear brother, Imam Mazhar Ahsan Ahmad. His dedication, love, and devotion to Allah’s cause continue to inspire us to emulate his zeal and zest in serving the Jamaat. We cherish the memories of him during Jalsa, where we feel his presence in the heavenly atmosphere.
In every annual Jalsa Salana, we strive to emulate Mazhar’s zeal and dedication in serving the Jamaat. Though he is physically absent, his spirit lives on, guiding and inspiring us on this spiritual journey. As we gather each year, we remember our brother Mazhar fondly and pray to Allah Almighty, cherishing the memories of him in the Jalsa Salana—a glimpse of true paradise in the presence of Allah.