By Mohsina Islam
Like a family quilt, fashioned from patches of different fabric, Ahmadiyyat is an ever-growing quilt woven out of multi-coloured and multi-textured pieces of cloth. These snippets of cloth are none other than the countries that Ahmadi Muslims call home: Pakistan, UK, Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Fiji, Indonesia and many more. Each bit of cloth has been stitched to the quilt by one of our Khalifas with the divine thread of Khilafat running through Friday sermons broadcast on MTA, personally-signed letters, country visits, and one-on-one meetings with members worldwide.
With Allah’s blessings and the prayers of the Khulafa and Jama’at members, the quilt of Ahmadiyyat hasn’t experienced any wear or tear. Over 100 years have passed, but the quilt remains as durable as when it first took form.
Now you might be wondering, ‘How does the thread of Khilafat really bind Ahmadi Muslims?’
Thanks to MTA, the live broadcast of Huzoor’s Friday Sermons is one way that Ahmadi Muslims stay connected. When gunmen stormed two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, in May 2010, Ahmadi Muslims everywhere heard an official account of the martyrdoms in Huzoor’s Friday sermon the following week. We shared in the sorrow of our Pakistani brothers and sisters; on Huzoor’s first call for prayers, we bowed down to Allah and wept for an end to persecution. The tragedy in Pakistan became a tragedy for Ahmadi Muslims everywhere.
Just as in times of sadness, the thread of Khilafat binds us in times of happiness, too. When we watch documentaries of Huzoor’s East and West African tours, for example, we see vibrant patches from the quilt of Ahmadiyyat, and rejoice with our brothers and sisters in places like Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.
During Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih V’s 2004 visit to Ghana, Ahmadi Muslims worldwide embarked on a journey with the Khalifa. For the first time in our lives, MTA brought Ghana into our homes. Without even having to travel, we saw children chant ecstatic slogans, sing melodious poems, and we saw an entire community come together like never before.
When Huzoor travelled to Qadian in 2005, we too joined him from behind our television screens. We caught glimpses of the Darwesh, and took a tour of the Behisti Maqbara as the sun sank in the sky, painting the horizon light pink. We were guided through busy corridors after Isha’a prayer at Mubarak mosque, decked with orange, yellow and red streamer lights.
Wherever the Khalifa went, we were sure to follow.
This quilt of Ahmadiyyat is extremely visible and apparent during the International Bai’at Ceremony at Jalsa Salana. This is the time when the thread of Khilafat fastens the older patches of the quilt to the newer ones. This is when Ahmadi Muslims and new converts from across the globe pledge allegiance to the Khalifa. It’s when one voice speaks and one voice responds: the Khalifa of the time recites the words of initiation and thousands upon thousands of people—some sitting behind one another, some sitting shoulder to shoulder—repeat the Khalifa’s words in unison.