The Holy Land, The Land of the Prophets

From 8th to 14th June 2019, 38 Waqifeen-e-Nau from various parts of UK partook in a trip to the symbolic and historic land of Palestine/Israel. The purpose of this trip was to enable Waqifeen-e-Nau brothers to foster strong relationships with one another, as well as recognise the importance of the Waqf-e-Nau scheme, and further develop their religious and historical knowledge.

The group travelled from London Luton airport and arrived in Tel-Aviv at approximately 9pm local time. From here, Waqifeen-e-Nau travelled by coach to the current headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Middle East, Mahmood Mosque in Kababir, Haifa, where they would stay for the duration of their trip. They were met with a warm welcome and treated to excellent hospitality and care by the Kababir Jama’at that would remain as such till their final day.

Here, I would like to mention that Haifa was also visited by Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra), Khalifatul Masih II, during his 1924 trip to Palestine.

The first day consisted of a packed itinerary in Haifa. It began with a visit to one of the most popular destinations in Israel, the Baha’i gardens. Next the group visited the historical Al Istiqlal Mosque, the oldest Mosque in Haifa. The group was able to offer Nawafil here as well as take in the architectural significance of the site. The home of Prophet Elijah (as), in the steep hills of Mount Carmel was the next destination for the group. This location is also where it is believed He once travelled to contest the claims of some certain false prophets, during the time of his own prophethood. The group stopped off here for some time, where they received a welcome address by Sadr Sahib Majlis Khuddam ul Ahmadiyya Palestine and later tucked into a fantastic barbecue that had been arranged by the local Khuddam. The day ended with a sitting with Ameer Sahib at Mahmood mosque. Ameer Sahib covered a number of topics during his talk, including a fascinating and inspirational account of Huzoor’s (Aba) election as Khalifatul Masih V, which, being a member of the election committee, he was able to witness first-hand.

Day two was relatively relaxed in comparison. First, the Waqifeen-e-Nau spent a few hours at nearby Carmel Beach. Here they enjoyed soaking in the sun and participating in activities such as water volleyball in the Mediterranean Sea and beach football. Prior to departure everyone took their chance to grab a customary ice-cream, as of course, a trip to the beach can never feel complete without it! Upon returning to the mosque the group observed their Zohr prayers. This was followed by a sitting with Murabbi Sahib Kababir for a discussion on the historical significance of the sites that they were to visit in the coming days. In the evening, Waqifeen-e-Nau participated in an indoor football competition that the Kababir Jama’at had specifically organised for them.

After Tahajjud and Fajr prayers and breakfast on day three, the Waqf-e-Nau prepared for their first trip to the West Bank, Palestine, accompanied by Ameer Sahib. Following a three-hour journey south their first stop was at the home of a recent Ahmadi convert where they were invited for breakfast before continuing on to Hebron. Here they visited a Mosque which houses the tombs of Hazrat Ibrahim (as), his wife Hazrat Sarah (as), their son Hazrat Ishaq (as) and his wife Hazrat Rafqa (Rebecca) (as). This was followed by a visit to the tomb of Hazrat Yunus (as) shortly after, located in the nearby Nabi Younis Mosque. The next stop was Bethlehem where Waqifeen-e-Nau visited the Church of the Nativity. A holy site for Christians, the Church gets its significance for being built over a cave which is commonly believed to be the location where Hazrat Mariam (as) gave birth to Hazrat Isa (as) and as such is a place of great importance to Christians (and indeed those of other faiths) all over the world. After departing from Bethlehem, Waqifeen-e-Nau embarked on a journey to what was perhaps the most significant destination of the trip to the land of the Prophets, the holy city of Jerusalem. A place of great significance to adherents of the main Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Waqifeen-e-Nau first visited the Dome of the Rock. After offering Zuhr and Asr prayers here the group moved on to see the even more historic Al Aqsa mosque which was situated in the same vicinity. Nearby the Waqf-e-Nau also had an opportunity to view a site of religious significance to the Jews, the Wailing Wall. They were also able to see the site of where Hazrat Isa (as) was put on the cross. The group was also able to take in the famous atmosphere of the old city as they walked through the narrow cobbled streets of Jerusalem and saw the old town markets brimming with merchants selling their products and food vendors with enticing displays of different and colourful cuisines.

The fourth day saw the Waqifeen-e-Nau return to the West Bank accompanied by Murabbi sahib. This time they travelled along the Jordan border headed for the lowest point on Earth, the famous Dead Sea. On the way the group stopped off at a few other interesting destinations. This included the site on the Jordan River where Hazrat Isa (as) is alleged to have been the recipient of the first baptism by Hazrat Yaya (as) (also known as John the Baptist in Christianity). The group were able to see not only the significance of this sight but also the practice of the Christians to immerse themselves within the river as tribute to what happened there many centuries ago. They then travelled to the city of Jericho, which is recognised as being the oldest continuous inhabited settlement and dates back more than 10,000 years, and also the Nabi Musa Mosque. Following arrival at Kalia Beach, Dead Sea, Waqifeen-e-Nau had lunch and then enjoyed a couple of hours floating in the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea and masking themselves in the mineral rich soil found on the seabed before their journey back to Kababir.

Day five was the final day of site seeing, though no less busy. Waqifeen-e-Nau visited a variety of locations which included; the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, where Hazrat Maryam (as) received the revelation from God regarding Hazrat Isa (as); Tiberias, where many Christians believe Jesus (as) performed the miracle of walking on water. Additionally, Waqifeen-e-Nau also had the opportunity to visit a bee farm owned by an Ahmadi brother in the beautiful area of the Golan Heights. The farm, hidden deep within the towering mountains that border Palestine and Syria and shadowed by the Sea of Galilee was a place where they gained a wealth of knowledge on the lives, and importance of bees and how they can relate this to their everyday life and the work they do for the Jama’at. The honey bee taught them the beautiful lesson of obedience to Khilafat. They also had an opportunity to purchase a variety of authentic honey products. Finally, before departing for Kababir for the last time, the group made a visit to the coastal town of Akko, famous for its coastal beauty, its links to countless civilisations of the world and its crushing victory against the invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. 

The following day was Waqf-e-Nau UK’s last of the Palestine trip. As it was Friday, the group read Jummah prayers and listened to Huzoor’s (Aba) sermon being broadcasted live from the UK. This was followed by a delicious lunch that served roast chicken, a group picture with Ameer Sahib and a last chance for Waqifeen-e-Nau to exchange farewell’s with Kababir Jama’at and thank them for their truly amazing and tireless hospitality and care.

Waqifeen-e-Nau departed from Tel-Aviv for London Luton at approximately 11pm on the 14th June 2019 and arrived at Islamabad, Tilford at Fajr time. This marked the end of a most exceptional, historic and inspirational trip. Alhamdullilah.

Waqf-e-Nau UK Doing Tabligh In Spain

In light of Huzooraa instructions on the occasion of the National Waqf-e-Nau Ijtema 2018 in which Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said: “In terms of Tabligh from a young age Waqifeen-e-Nau should have the habit of spreading the message of Islam. Thus at weekends or during holidays you should do Tabligh and play your role in defending Islam from the false allegations that are levelled against it. Both the Jama’at and Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya host Tabligh functions and events and so you should offer your services and try to help as much as possible.”

On the morning of 24 October 2018, 23 Waqifeen-e-Nau gathered at Fazal Mosque to embark on a historical trip to Southern Spain. After being briefed about the importance of this trip, the group set off to London Stansted Airport. Upon arrival at Malaga Airport, they were welcomed by the Missionary Respected Qaisar Mahmood Malik Sahib who took the group to Masjid Basharat, Pedro Abad.

Before departing, one of the Waqifeen-e-Nau, Aosaf Ahmad Basra Sahib said: “I wanted to go on this trip because it is a trip organised by the Jamaat and as a Waqf-e-Nau I want to be a part of a group that is going for the soul purpose of experiencing Spain with the sprit which the Jama’at has in terms of brotherhood. And for me it is a blessed trip not like any other trips. It is a trip where I can go and spread the message of Islam and learn from other Waqifeen-e-Nau as well as from the Jamaat. And as guest of the Jamaat it is an honour for me to go. And the aim for me for this trip is to make myself a better Ahmadi, a better Waqf-e-Nau and to realise what I can do in the world in terms of my duty and my obligations as an Ahmadi.”  

The Waqifeen-e-Nau started each day by offering the Tahajjud and Fajr prayer. After having breakfast, they would visit different historical sites according to their timetable. The trip started with the city of Seville where they began to see the Cathedral. It was originally built by Muslims early during the Islamic empire as the main Mosque of Seville which over time has become one of the largest churches. From there, they moved on to see the Real Alcazar which is the King’s palace.

Each day after visiting the respected heritage sites, they would spend time doing Tabligh by distributing leaflets to the public and involving in one to one discussions.

On the third day, the group visited the Great Mosque of Cordoba which at one time was the largest covered Mosque in the world. A Waqf-e-Nau Faran Ahmad Sahib described his observations in the following words: “I have really enjoyed looking at the calligraphy especially the Arabic writing and have learnt that it was once made by the Muslims.”

Another Waqf-e-Nau Kaleem Ahmad Sahib commented whilst visiting “Medina Azahara” (ruins of a vast, fortified Moorish medieval palace-city): “I have been here before but have not seen this place, so it is a different experience a unique on its own especially enjoying the time with all the brothers.”

Another important aspect worth mentioning is that the Waqifeen-e-Nau also had the chance to go and pray at the grave of Respected Karam Ilahi Zafar Sahib, who was one the first missionaries in Spain.

One of the sites Waqifeen-e-Nau managed to visit was Alhambra which is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada. Seeing the site, a Waqf-e-Nau Ziaullah Ehsan Sahib expressed his emotions in the following words: “Coming here, a person feels two profound emotions. One is a sense of great pride, witnessing how great and eminent the status of the Islamic Empire once was. However, alongside one also feels remorse and grief at how this once great Kingdom of Muslims in Spain is no longer there.” He also said: “Especially since the main purpose of our visit is the propagation of Islam, we are distributing flyers and leaflets. There is a great need for people to continue come here and spread the message of Islam, Ahmadiyya.”

Apart from that, Waqifeen-e-Nau also had the opportunity to visit Gibraltar and the city of Malaga. A distinctive part of this trip was the sitting with Respected Ameer Sahib in which he explained to us the history of Islam and Ahmadiyya in Spain.

Waqifeen-e-Nau offered all their prayers in congregation, 11 Waqifeen-e-Nau completed reading the book of the Promised Messiah (as) Noah’s Ark during this trip and every Waqf-e-Nau partook in Tabligh through distributing leaflets. In total, 3500 leaflets were distributed from the 24 October to 31 October 2018. This trip was organised by the Department of Waqf-e-Nau in Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, UK.