Well, when I was elected and I was told, I was
there, I knew I had become a Khalifa, that was that, and I felt awful. The person who is elected
does not propose his name. Most often than not, he tries to keep away
from such responsibilities, to shun the responsibilities, but when imposed, then he goes forward
like a brave man and carries them. What is happening in Pakistan is a dictatorship
and they know it, everybody knows it. How can I work in Pakistan under
this ordinance as Khalifa? So I cannot live there for a single moment
without relinquishing my office. I kept on telling Ahmadis to go closer to Allah,
there our safety lies and nowhere else. Those who stood for Pakistan, who sacrificed
all they had for the sake of Pakistan, who suffered for our Pakistan, they are
left aside as enemies of Pakistan. I came here in November 1984 and I went to
Pakistan once in 1990 and then I did not go back. It was in 2003 when I requested Huzoor that I
would like to visit Pakistan once with my family. So he was really shocked, he said, “You have not
been to Pakistan for the last 13 years?” I said, “No sir”.
So he said, “No, you must go”. Then we had a mulaqaat (meeting) before
leaving, then he gave my wife £400, saying, “This is your
expenditure in Pakistan”. So I went to Karachi after three days, I was
coming when I got a message, from Nasir Saeed, my second in command here, that Huzoor has died. So, it was a big shock. 19 April 2003, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is facing a crisis
following the demise of its Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh). His closest aides are in shock, not least
Head of Security Major Mahmood Ahmad, who is doubly devastated to have been
so far during his masters final hours. Stranded in Karachi, Major Sahib phones
Pakistan’s most senior administrator, the Nazir-e-alla, Sahibzada Mirza
Masroor Ahmad for guidance. This is what I want to say, that unfortunately
I was not there at that time. So I rang up Mian Masroor Ahmad, at that
time, and after condolence I asked him: “What are the instructions for me? ” so he said, “Go back immediately and take over”. He was much calmer than me,
I was weeping but he was okay. He was telling me, “It is okay, it
is alright, it is part of life”, he was giving me encouragement and he
said, “You should immediately go back”. Sahibzada Mian Masroor Ahmad is
a nephew of the late Khalifa. He has been a life devotee of the Ahmadiyya
Muslim Community for over two decades, including eight years in Ghana, Africa There was a conversation in our
house regarding our relatives. In recent years, Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmad has served with distinction as
Nazir-e-alla of Pakistan, becoming a great favourite of his Khalifa. Of all of Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) nephews
who were working in Pakistan, who were Waqfeen- e- Zindagi, Huzoor always
referred to them by their first name, but he would always call
him ‘Mian (respected) Masroor’, and he would speak with a lot of affection. Huzoor would really trust in Sahibzada
Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahib’s judgment. On a number of occasions,
I heard him say something like “Because Mian Masroor has said this,
then his is how we’re going to do it.” And then in 2001, I visited
Pakistan for a few weeks, and before I was leaving, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih
IV (rh) told me to stay close to Mian Masroor and he said that anything you need, or if you
have any issue there, turn to Mian Masroor. However, the Nazir-e-alla’s prominent
position has made him the innocent target of state
sponsored persecution. Now, Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmad faces a
crisis far greater than his time in jail. The Khalifa has passed away, but not without
leaving detailed instructions for his followers. In 1999, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih
the fourth (rh), fell ill and it was decided by Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya
and Tehrik-e Jadid Anjuman Ahmadiyya that two of their representatives should go to
London and enquire about Huzoor’s health. So the late Hazrat Sahibzada
Mirza Khursheed Ahmad and myself were nominated for this
purpose. We went to London, met Huzoor,
enquired about his health. After two or three days, Huzoor called us into
his office and directed us to bring a copy of the rules and regulations concerning
the election of Khalifatul Masih and he asked us to make some
amendments in the rules. One amendment was that the election will
take place in Masjid Fazl, London. Secondly, he said that: “Sadr Anjuman
Ahmadiyya Pakistan, at Rabwah, “will control the election affairs and the related
arrangements and the Community people in London, “they will take every step with the permission
of Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Rabwah.” As the most senior office bearer of the Sadr
Anjuman, a heavy burden now falls on Sahbizada Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who must take responsibility for the Ahmadiyya
Muslim Community in the critical days ahead. Whilst senior office bearers and direct family
are already aware of the situation. Sahibzada Mirza Masroor must now
inform the wider Community. I think it was around midday, that we got a
message, again from Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to say that Private Secretary should make an
announcement on MTA of Huzoor’s demise. Munir Javaid Sahib called and said: “I am coming
to record a message.” Without saying what it is. He came to the studio. As he started speaking in Arabic – the early
words of that message where in Arabic. I knew immediately before he even spoke in Urdu
and the rest of my colleagues were there. I just could not hold myself from bursting into – There was a corner next to the Mahmood Hall where
now the MTA transmission department is and all the Ahmadis that were there
on that day, had just huddled there. They were not moving, they were not talking. There was a great sense of anxiety and
a way of confusion amongst all of them and I just remember this sort of, this stillness. How still everything was. As the day unfolds, senior representatives
of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as summoned from around the world to the
London Mosque for an Electoral College that would select the new Khalifa. However, it is the start of a Bank Holiday
weekend and the UK’s official bodies will not issue any visas to enter
the country for three days. Imam Sahib called me and asked me: “Your name in
the member of the Committee of the Khilafat. “Please come to London as soon as possible.”
It is like someone put a mountain on my shoulder. Really, I was afraid. I realized that we would have problems. We would have to get the Electoral
College down here quickly and it is possible that some people’s visa may
not be processed or what have you. So, I rang Tony Colman who was the
local member of Parliament here. So he came into my office,
sat next door and from here he started making
telephone calls to the Home Office. The late Khalifa was as like a father to me. Can I say that my granddaughter suffered from
childhood leukaemia and came very close to death and one of the things that helped
her recover, her name is Evie, was actually the medicines that
the late Khalifa mixed for her. The impact of what Tony Colman did, only came
later because when people started arriving here. A delegation that came from Japan, said that
when they found out about this incident they went to the Embassy to get visas and the
Embassy said: “You must be joking. “It is bank holiday and we are closed. “The earliest you can do is
Tuesday when we will reopen.” And they said that they were very
disappointed and went back and they said that literally a few hours later,
they got a call from the embassy saying: “We have had instructions from London that
visas should be issued immediately.” And throughout the world, messages
went out from the Foreign Office, that Ahmadis who wanted to come
should be issued visas. For instance, in Germany where
we had large Communities, I was told that their Embassy
stayed open all night. In fact, that they even got some
of our Ahmadi’s to help them issue visas to people who wanted to come. Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmad must
now depart Rabwah for London. He hopes to return in a week with the permission
of whosoever was elected Khalifa. As he leaves, he visits elder
relatives in Rabwah, including Harzrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad’s (rh) sister
Sahibzadi Amtul Basit. He was only there for a minute or
two, if I remember correctly. So, he came and said: “I am leaving
and you know, please pray”. And then I think he left and
she walked him to the door. But he was also I think
– not in a hurry or rush – but you know he was very
to the point but also very calm. A convoy of 14 senior office bearers now
departs Rabwah for a long journey. The first leg of which is by car to Lahore. It was an immense feeling of being a sheep
or a herd of sheep without a shepherd. The first news of any support or strength
which I remember receiving was that there was a convoy coming from Rabwah
comprising of Mirza Khurshid Ahmad Sahib and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib and
Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahib. A lot of the members of the electoral college
from Pakistan arrived in England. Because it contained a lot of directors of
Tehrik-e-Jadid and Sadr Anjuman e Ahmadiyya it was felt necessary that someone from Hazrat
Mirza Tahir Ahmad’s (rh) family go to the airport and receive them along with
– from what I remember – Amir Sahib UK Rafiq Ahmed Hayat Sahib
was there and several other people. I was the person who went to the airport. The thing that struck me that day was that out of
all the people that got off that plane, out of the people we received, he was
the most calm and the most tranquil and the most at ease with the situation. He met me with a great deal of love. As soon as they landed, all of us were
there or thereabouts in Fazl Mosque. When I heard I hurried towards
the Guest House, 65. I can still remember that feeling
of a sort of joy after I saw them. As I entered, all of the people sitting even
though I was much younger than all of them they must have done it to everyone,
but all of them stood up. We hugged each other and if there were any
emotions they were kept very quiet. I then escorted them to the coffin area. So, he inspected the coffin and saw it. He looked into the security duties, whatever
we were doing, and he was satisfied. Then Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmed Sahib
called a meeting and started planning. Those images that we have captured. I have filmed some, Syed Aqeel
Shah Sahib has filmed some. So those were going to be viewed and
aired on MTA to show the public who could not attend see Huzoor’s blessed face. But none of us were happy with the filming that
we did because the body was inside the coffin. Because the way the light was and it was
reflecting some shadows on the face also it did not look really nice and I did not want Huzoor’s last images
to be transmitted, to be remembered, in that way. And it was not the way he looked like. His face, you could not really believe this was
the face of someone who has passed away. The alternative was that we need to take the body
out of the coffin and film it that way but I was not even sure if it was
an okay thing to do and suggest. I said to myself that let the more senior
members make that decision and choice. So me and Aqeel Sahib were standing
in MTA’s office under the monitor where this video was playing. And in that meeting the chairman
of MTA was sitting there with senior members from
Rabwah, as well as London. Amongst them was Sahibzada
Mirza Masroor Ahmed Sahib. He was sitting against
the wall towards the TV’s. Me and Aqeel Sahib were sitting
quietly and the discussion was whether this is good
enough or not good enough. I chose to remain quiet and everyone was saying
this is good enough this is the best you can get. To the point that the decision was
almost final and all I remember is that Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahib just
out of the blue looks up towards me and Aqeel Sahib and asks me,
“Odeh Sahib, what do you think?’’ Even with that opportunity
I could not say anything, I was emotional and I could not
express myself properly. Then he said, “Do you think it is better
to take the body out and film it?’’ And that kind of took me by surprise
as if he has read my mind! Then I just nodded and said, “Yes I
think it’s better if we do that.’’ Then the decision was made to come
after Asr, to bring the body, put it in Mahmood Hall and then
we filmed the body again. Those pictures were really of a totally
different level altogether. The police have cordoned off the surrounding
roads allowing tens of thousands of grieving Ahmadi Muslims to stand
at the gates of the London mosque. Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmed Sahib was
making his way from the 41 guest house to the main mosque area or perhaps
to the Mahmood hall. As he entered Gressenhall Road,
there was a huge crowd of people across the road and
his pathway was blocked. People would just part for him
so he was able to get to where he needed to without
any sort of hindrance. But the real thing I recall is the atmosphere at
the time the way the people were looking at him. You could hear whispers, you
could hear people talking. It is something I will never forget because there
was a real electricity in the air at that moment. He was standing outside Fazl Mosque and
he was completely surrounded by people. Everyone wanted to come and pay his respects to
him and express their condolences to him. There were so many people and he met with all of
them but the situation became quite dangerous because anyone could have
taken advantage there. So eventually I held his hand and
literally took him out of the crowd and took him upstairs because the thing was that
there could have been a dangerous situation. But, he himself was there for everyone, he was
prepared to share everyone’s sorrow. Despite Amir Sahib’s security concerns,
the highest ranking office bearer of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
continues to stand amongst the crowd. Because of so many people the
mosque was over flowing. There were prayer mats that had been laid out. In all corners and this prayer mat was just
in a corner right next to flower beds and you know it was not a very best of places to
have your, it was very tight and everything. But I sat there with my cousin, Syed Tahir
Ahmed, and we were sitting there and I got a glimpse of Naazar-i-alla
coming for prayers. He saw us and there was just a little space
with us and he came and sat with us. Of course he was being escorted by security at
the time because he was Naazar-i-alla. So the fellow who was Mr Nasir, who was on
security with him, he asked him that “You know please do not offer here, please
come inside or there are places inside.’’ But I think he kept sitting
over there he said it is fine. But I remember distinctly and
vividly saying to myself that how humble this person is and
how extreme is his humility. As the day passes, grief stricken Ahmadis are
still unable to find contentment. That time was just frought with tension. I am thinking maybe something is wrong why I am
young, and I am very kamzor, weak, person. Maybe some mistake to put my name is
this committee, very holy committee and it comes to my mind that now the ambulance
is coming and they took me to the hospital. I feel something like I am going to
die, really this is not a joke. I still remember remarking or mentioning
to my friend then that “Everything feels so incomplete
without a Khalifa.’’ I remember saying that, “I really really
can not wait until tomorrow, “until the election of Khilafat and until
we have some sort of leadership again.’’ The day of the election has finally
arrived and the worshippers at the London Mosque are now almost
overwhelmed with anxiety. I was in an extreme state of fear for
myself, for my belief, for my faith. I put in my mind before I leave Kababir,
someone to nominate his name as Khalifa, but I was not full with satisfaction about him. But there can be no delays, as the
darkness of the night approaches, members of the electoral college form
a queue at the mosque’s entrance. I stopped there and two people came
from the left side, one I know him. He was Hameedullah, the Wakil-e-Alla
Sahib and another person. This person when he came I saw light, spark,
‘noor’ coming from his face to my heart and I started asking myself, ‘Who is this
person? I know the Jama’at people, ‘Who is this? I do not know this person?’. I walked in with Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba)
into the mosque and we sat right at the back, both of us, last people to
go in and sat at the back. In fact, he gave me his mobile phone, he
said we are not supposed to take it in but you hold on to it in case
we have to make any contact. I was sitting in the library of Hazrat
Mirza Tahir Ahmad‘s (rh) residence, a lot of his family members were
there and throughout this period absolutely everyone was just silent. There was absolute quiet and
everyone was just praying. The secretary, Imam Sahib and the Sadr
Ijlaas, Chaudhary Hameedullah Sahib and they started to read the rules and
after who we wanted to nominate names. Some people stood up and they
started mentioning names. When they mentioned names, my
heart closed and refused. I told myself why this bad feeling? They
are holy men, why this bad feeling? Now it is not your ‘Aqal’ (brain) because you
did not know the CV and who is this person? Something like another system work now.
Refuse, refuse, refuse. Someone mentioned the same person I thought
about him to, to nominate him as Khalifa, and I ask myself okay raise your hand. I feel paralysed I can not move
my hand and his name fall down. Ameer Sahib Germany asked the Sadr Ijlaas to
stand up to see the face of those people because we came from different countries;
East, West, North, South. Okay, when they mentioned Masroor Ahmed,
I am looking where is Masroor Ahmed. He was in my group, in the end where we
remove the shoes in that, near the door, and he is crying and I saw
him he is the same person I saw him before it came
from his face – ‘noor’ (light). I say, “This is the Khalifa’’. When the name of the Khalifa was announced
it was an almost instantaneous, you want to call it magic moments, spell. You feel the happiness, you feel
the peace direct, like a switch. It was an amazing feeling. That feeling that I had for the
last few days, it was lifted. Your hearts were filled with happiness and joy. You have never met that individual,
you never interacted with him, you do not know what he is like, you do not know how to but it is the Allah
has made His choice through this council. It instilled that peace again that
you had lost in the last few days. When we were inside and everyone was standing
up inside the mosque, Fazl mosque, the electoral college and Huzoor asked everyone
to sit down because he was going to say something. I think Imam Sahib announced that
Huzoor has said ‘sit down’. People outside heard it as well. And those thousands of people who were
standing on the road everywhere, they immediately sat down, every person no matter where they were
and they immediately sat down. I stayed in London several days
after the intikhab-e-Khilafat and then on Sunday morning I had to back to
University because there were exams coming up. I remember asking the private secretary
if I could meet Huzoor before I left and I only just made this request and Munir
Javed Ahmed Sahib he ran to the office and he came out and said I could go in. and Huzoor was sitting there at
his desk and told me to sit down. I remember the very first thing
he said to me was that, “Things are not going to be
any different with me. “‘If there is ever anything you need, if there
is ever anything you need speak to or speak about, “turn to me in the same way that you were
able to turn to your grandfather.’’ There were some few names suggested and I
do not know how I was elected, and I was elected anyway. As the head of the worldwide
Muslim Community, it is my duty and that I should draw the
attention of the world towards establishing peace. I can consider this my obligation because
Islam’s very meaning is peace and security. Today, the institution of Khilafat is striving
for peace in every possible way and to spread love and perfection
throughout the world.