Glimpses of Islamic Glory in Western Hemisphere
by Prof. Razia Madad Ali
The Light (Pakistan), 24th May 1980 Issue (Vol. 60, No. 10, pp. 9–10, 13)
Then came the leaders of delegations representing various countries who had come to participate in the Jubilee Celebrations. This was followed by light refreshments for the guests. They were taken round the SIV (Surinaamse Islamitische Vereniging) Centre [Surinamese branch of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam] and were very much impressed by an Exhibition arranged by the local young men. The President went round like an ordinary member of the crowd, no cameras and no bodyguards pushing around. I was very much impressed by down-to-earth behaviour of the President of Suriname. The speeches by local members were in Dutch. If not the words, we caught the spirit alright. Foreign delegates spoke in English emphasising the role of Islam in the present-day crises-ridden world.
November the 18th, 1979, was a red letter day in SIV history in particular and Islamic history in general. For this was the day when people of all sizes, men, women, and children, started collecting funds under the canopy stretching over the foundations of the under-construction Jaamia Mosque, which according to rough estimates required 2 lakhs 75 thousand (275,000) Guilders (a Guilder is equal to Rs. 3.20 in Pakistan [conversion rates in 1980]). The compound was filled in no time. The department of amplifying and announcements was with Mr. Rashid Pier Khan of Radio Ropar. The meeting started with recitation from the Holy Quran, an appeal by Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan, followed by the budget estimates of the funds required by the Engineer incharge of the construction. Then the donations started trickling down drop by drop. We were sitting wondering how at this snail-like pace would they reach the big target of 275,000 Guilders. Our delegation announced a donation of 500 dollars, plus a hundred dollars as my personal donation. My dear sister Zakia Abdullah, too, gave 100 dollars. This was an incentive, a signal for speeding up. Now people started doubling their original contribution until such time that the contributions were 30,000 less than the target. Up stood Mr. Ibrahim, a local businessman, announcing that he would make good the deficit. Amongst thundering cheers, some enthusiast got up and lifted him on their shoulders, this acted like a spark, charging everyone alike, and was followed by another round of big donations. Now the amount was exactly the double of the required amount. The climax was a heart-warming experience. Two leading businessmen had gone to court to settle a long-standing dispute between them. We could see the Divine hand right through but now, lo and behold, these two litigants stood up in public, embraced each other and promised to donate the disputed amount (I think 60,000 Guilders) to the same fund. You will be pleased to hear that the latest information is that the amount collected has swelled up to 5 lakh (500,000) Guilders, i.e., more than 15 lakh (1,500,000) Pakistani Rupees.
This is the fire kindled by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the hearts of Ahmadis. They are working to give not only their heart and souls but their worldly possession too, a difficult job indeed in this materialistic age. The above-mentioned scene, as you know, is an annual feature at the December Jalsa [Gathering/Convention] of the members of the same Jamaat at Lahore. Every reader is welcome to come and witness this scene being repeated this year as well. The fire of love of Islam kindled by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is kept burning by Mujaddadeen — Reformers. One of them, who came at a time when Islam was apparently submerged by Pen and Sword of ruling nations at that time, came with a message of hope for the faithful, saying,
“Wake up O believers! It’s your time now. I see the footstep of believers in Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on the highest pinnacle of glory.”
This is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in whose person we see a prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fulfilled and that is,
“A time will come when the teaching of Islam and Faith in God will be as far away from men as ‘Surriyya’ [Pleiades (a cluster of stars in the constellation of Taurus)] from the earth.”
Then, placing his hand on Hazrat Salman of Persia, the Holy Prophet said,
“A man from amongst the Persians will bring it back.”
Incidentally Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s ancestors are from Persia and facts have proved that he and his devoted followers did spread the message of Islam to the remotest corners of the world, defeating every challenger, not with the sword but with the pen, for the pen is mightier than the sword. The seed of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam, sown a few hundred years back, was nurtured by the sons of Suriname. Its soil was rejuvenated by the frequent visits of missionaries from Lahore, of the stature of Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi and Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan, who pay his oft-repeated visits, healed as a spiritual doctor too many dormant maladies that are a common affliction of a community anywhere.
(To be continued).