The worldwide head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Caliph Mirza Masroor Ahmad, delivers a Friday sermon every week. It is broadcast live from London over satellites to reach every corner of the earth. At times, he mentions members who have passed away. In a recent sermon, he mentioned Muhammad Idrees from Ivory Coast.
As Idrees grew up, he wanted to be a missionary. Idrees decided to go to Rabwah in Pakistan to study religion. He bought a ticket and embarked on his flight. It was in early 1980s. Communication means were not as accessible as they are today. There were no cell phones. No one knew his itinerary.
There is no airport in Rabwah. One has to go to a major airport and then go there by train or other means. Karachi is about 800 miles to the south. The day Idrees was to arrive in Karachi, the wife of an Ahmadi there saw a dream that a guest was expected. She told her husband. Her husband went to the airport to receive the guest knowing nothing about how he looked, where he was coming from and who he was.
As the passengers cleared, one person was still standing. He spoke French and Arabic and did not know the local language. Locals could understand English but not French. The host approached him and asked him if he needed help. It was Idrees who wanted to go to Rabwah, 800 miles away.
The host arranged for him to continue his journey. Idrees returned to West Africa after his studies.
These are the kind of incidents that convince observers that there does exist a being who takes care of his people and helps them in unimaginable ways. These are the kind of incidents in the lives of our extended families, friends and acquaintances that instill in our hearts and minds the imprint of the living existence of God, develop a natural affinity with the Omnipresent, and create the habit of praying.
Why let a moment of our life go by without trying to experience extraordinary incidents in our lives by recognizing the Divine Being and trying to create a relationship of friendship with him? Our forefathers did so for thousands of years in the shadows of the teachings and examples of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and experienced the friendship and care of a merciful God. Similar experiences kept the belief strong for centuries among the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other people of faith who recognized the right course to the Almighty and followed it wholeheartedly.
People share the mercy of God, some more and some less, according to the level of their faith, sincerity, and effort on the one hand and the grace of God on the other. He reveals himself perpetually in the world around us and the people among us if we look and observe attentively without prejudice. God’s compassion manifests in myriad of different ways for every different person. “Every day He reveals Himself in a different state” (Holy Qur’an 55:29/30).
Ahmad is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages. He has translated, compiled and co-authored “A Gift for the Queen,” “Points to Ponder,” “Why Islam is my choice” and “Words of Wisdom.” He lives in Jamestown, N.D., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org