My journey to dedicating my life as a Waqf-e-Zindagi [life devotee]was almost bound to happen but unexpected at the same time. Growing up as a Waqf-e-Nau and knowing that my parents had dedicated my life before I was born made me feel special and different from the majority of my friends, but it also came with huge expectations that stayed with me during school and college. Whilst everyone was hanging out with friends, going to parties, mixing with boys and girls, I had this underlying responsibility to not follow the trend because I knew the Jama’at had something bigger for me to accomplish in the future. Not knowing what that would be, I still kept focus on my own goals and avoided chasing anything that would lead me away from my targets and I limited myself to always keeping the picture of Waqf at the forefront of my mind. I remember when I was in college, at the age of 17, I was blessed to have a mulaqat with Huzooraba where I asked for his guidance on the career I should pursue and the course I should study at university. I was surprised because a lot of my family and friends expected me to do Medicine, Law or go to Jamia but in the mulaqat, Huzooraba asked me what subjects I’m interested in or good at. I mentioned to Huzooraba that the subject I am best at and got the best grades in was English Literature and to my surprise Huzooraba said to do that as an undergraduate degree then a Masters in the same subject. When Huzooraba said that, I felt a massive weight off my shoulder because it was something I wanted to do myself and now that Huzooraba had also told me that I should do it, I felt contentment and the drive to succeed in it.
A real turning point occurred in the final year of my undergraduate degree where I failed one coursework module and had to resit in the summer. The course instructors told me that I had to pass the resit otherwise I would not be able to resit the module again and would most likely need to retake the year. I was extremely nervous not only because I would waste a year but also because I felt I would be letting Huzooraba and my family down who had high expectations for me as a Waqf-e-Nau. One night I was especially nervous about passing and I prayed to God and begged Him to allow me to pass this module and my degree, and I said that, if that happened, I would somehow dedicate my life to the Jama’at and not pursue any other career or job. After the prayer I felt that I had really tried to leave it up to God and hoped that something would happen where I would finally pass this degree. I remember when the results came in September, I opened my laptop to see the grades online and it said I passed.
My family were happy and celebrating, but I knew because of that prayer God had done it for me and when I really needed help and support, He gave it to me. So I had it in my mind to now dedicate my life to His service. After my degree I applied for the Masters course at the same university and got in and that was much easier to finish because I was more mature and able to take the initiative in my work. After that year I remember I had just finished the course and was at Fazl Mosque in London and Amer Safir (Chief Editor of Review of Religions) met me randomly, when I was just about to leave the Mosque to go home. He asked me what I was studying and what plans I had for the future and added “Have you ever thought about working for the Jama’at or doing Waqf?” I said that I was already a Waqf-e-Nau but I had been thinking about serving the Jama’at in some way. He said he thought I would be useful in the Review of Religions because I did English Literature and he said he would write to Huzooraba about it. Surprisingly, he called me a few days later saying Huzooraba has asked to see me about Waqf, and that time I was shocked as I didn’t expect it to move that quickly. But I went to the mulaqat and, remembering the promise I made to God to serve the Jama’at, I opened my mind to whatever Huzooraba would want me to do. In the mulaqat Huzooraba directly said to me that being a Waqf-e-Zindagi is not like any other job in the world and doesn’t pay much, and whether I was ready for that. I said “Yes Huzooraba I am ready.” He said “Okay fill in the paperwork and start in the Review of Religions”. Completely surprised, a few days later I was serving in the Review of Religions under the guidance of Huzooraba and I felt my focus and dedication to serving the Jama’at came true in a way I would have never expected.
I have been serving as a Waqf-e-Zindagi for the past 8 years, and it has been extremely rewarding, fulfilling and challenging, which is in line with my own nature, and what I wanted out of life. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to different countries like America, Canada and around Europe to make content for the Magazine and to push the message of the Promised Messiahas to the West. We are constantly trying to push the boundaries and set the trends in what the world consumes, and putting out the message of Ahmadiyyat in new and innovative ways that is easily digestible to young and old. Using platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, we are engaging people in ways that have never been done before like social experiments, podcasts, talk shows and seminars. Combining this with writing articles on Islamic issues and addressing misconceptions people have about my faith keeps me on my toes with current world events and political changes. I have had to increase my ability to learn new software, skills and also increase my stamina to work and think creatively so that the team and myself can best serve the world with the message of Islam.
There is hardly a day off because there is always more work to do but living life with a purpose and passion is more fun than living a life of mediocrity. I feel like my inclination to the Jama’at has helped me to find my purpose in life, and also my attachment to Khilafat has lead me along this path where I can serve my faith and create a stronger connection with God by serving Him and His creation every day of my life.