JalsaConnect caught up with the spirited and very warm-hearted Hamza Ilyas Sahib for a quick chat about Jalsa and how he became a Muslim. A thoroughly inspiring chap.
JalsaConnect: Assalamu Alaikum Hamza Sahib.
Hamza Ilyas Sahib: Wa Alaikum Salam Wa Rahmatullah.
JC: Can you tell us please what your duty is here at Jalsa?
HI: I work with the National Nau Maubayeen department, that is to say the department of New Ahmadis.
JC: What sort of stuff do you do with the new converts?
HI: Take them around, make sure that they’re not left alone, to introduce them to new people and help broaden their network of Ahmadis. Overall, to have a chat with them and to understand their story, how they came into Ahmadiyyat, find out what their needs are. To be their guide and helper. And their friend.
JC: And because you yourself, at one point, converted to Islam, does that help you relate to them?
HI: Well I’m still trying to convert to Islam! It’s a long process … but I will say that I embraced Islam. So I think that this is a duty that’s close to my heart, because part of the difficulty when you embrace anything new, especially as comprehensive as Islam is, is that there’s this whole culture of networking with people who speak other languages … so there are a lot of barriers and a lot of little places where someone unfamiliar with it all can stumble, so I think that this is a part of a duty that’s close to my heart, because a) I love people and b) because I empathise with them; I understand how difficult that transition can be … so I’m going to be there to help them throughout.
JC: You must have been over this many times before, but briefly, what was your story, or what brought you to Islam Ahmadiyyat?
HI: God brought me to Islam and Ahmadiyyat. That sounds like a big statement but it’s true only because there were several dreams that I had from the very beginning that helped to shorten my search … I had bumped into some Arabs from Yemen, who talked to me about the Holy Quran. I was really shocked because I thought that God stopped talking to people. I was really intrigued because I had secretly hoped for most of my life that God still actually talked to people. So when I heard that God had dictated a book, I needed to go and find that book as quickly as time allowed. So when I found that book – that’s when I started seeing dreams saying ‘God is coming’ and introducing me to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the Promised Messiah (as), where they both talked to me and taught me a few things and I was … made to feel like I were one of their family members. That, coupled with a few other spiritual experiences throughout my time as an Ahmadi showed me that God is living, He still talks […] and that’s what brought me to Ahmadiyyat. And that’s what keeps me here today.
JC: I’d imagine, as with all of us, you’re very excited about Jalsa. What mainly are you looking forward to this Jalsa?
HI: Actually, when I first started coming to Jalsas, it was very exciting because you’re meeting new people and you’re sharing stories and books that you’re reading, and sharing knowledge about different books that you’re reading … but mostly meeting the different people from different places, that was the first exciting part that played a majority share in what helped to bring me to Jalsa. I think these days I’m mostly looking forward to rest of heart. Coming here to Jalsa, listening to the speeches, listening very meticulously to what Huzur has to say, knowing that it will make my spiritual and physical life easier and bring comfort to my heart, and that’s what brings me to Jalsa today.
JC: Jazakallah Hamza Sahib.