by Haris Raja 
     In the first week of May 2017, nearly 300 young Muslim men from the US went to visit the Khalifa of Islam, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad in London, UK. The event was organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association USA. Mirza Masroor Ahmad is the Head of the world wide Ahmadiyya Muslim community. For the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, His Holiness is the spiritual leader and guide. The purpose of this visit was to inspire the young members of the community and provide them an opportunity to develop a strong bond with His Holiness.
     The group had an opportunity to offer congregational prayers behind His Holiness. Islamic daily prayers are obligatory on men to perform in congregation.  The three-day visit served as an excellent reminder for all group members to offer their prayers in congregation.  Islamic prayer is a way of meditation through which believers reflect on improving their spirituality. It teaches them self control, unity and discipline. Portions of the Holy Quran are also recited during the prayer to reflect on the teaching of the Holy book for Muslims. His Holiness’ marvelous recitation of the Holy Quran during the prayers penetrated the hearts of the followers and many shed tears in a highly charged spiritual environment.
     The group also had a blessed audience exclusively with His Holiness. This was a remarkable opportunity for the group to ask questions and seek guidance. During the session, His Holiness put a special emphasis on the daily recitation of the Holy Quran and admonished the attendees to reflect on the real meaning of the Quran. He encouraged the youth to acquire the true understanding of their faith and become adherents of the peaceful teachings of Islam.  His Holiness told the youth that they need to become model citizens of the their society and should attract others towards their faith through their strong and decent character.
     Finally the group had an opportunity to renew their pledge at the hands of His Holiness. This pledge of allegiance is to declare that the adherents will obey His Holiness in every thing good. There are ten conditions in the pledge of allegiance. All of these conditions are related to the spiritual well being of the adherent. For example, Believing in the Unity of God, offering daily prayers, understanding the true meaning of the Holy Quran, staying away from all kinds of vices and evils, serving humanity to one’s maximum ability, being gentle and kind to others, becoming a peaceful human being are among these conditions. The pledge of allegiance took place in the historical Fazal Mosque, the oldest Mosque in London. Although its not a very big mosque, it was overcrowded and group members were fervently waiting for the arrival of His Holiness to lead the pledge of allegiance. There were cries of repentance from sins and prayers to achieve the pleasure of God all over. It was an ecstatic atmosphere worth remembering for everyone who was taking part in the pledge.
     The hospitality shown by the host Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association UK was marvelous. They welcomed us with warm greetings, treated us with sumptuous meals and took great care of us for which we are grateful.
     This visit to see His Holiness was a life changing experience for many. In today’s political climate where young Muslim men are often portrayed in a bad light, young men of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are proudly adhering to their faith. Their trip to London was an assurance that they are safeguarded from the wrong influences and are peaceful and law-abiding citizens of the country they live in.
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