On 22nd February 2014, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Fifth Khalifa, addressed the delegates of the European Annual Symposium of the International Association of Ahmadi Architects and Engineers (IAAAE).
During his address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad congratulated the members of the IAAAE for their continued commitment to selflessly serving humanity. His Holiness said the Association had now installed or rehabilitated thousands of water pumps in Africa that were providing clean drinking water to thousands of deprived people.
Speaking about his own experiences of living in Africa during the 1970s and 1980s, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“It was through my experience of living in Africa for some years that I came to truly understand the value of water and not just the value of water but the value in particular of clean drinking water. I have seen with my own eyes young children walking one or two miles with large buckets filled with water balanced on their heads and even today in some poor parts of Africa this trend continues…
I myself sometimes had to travel for more than 10 miles to get water for personal use and so I would fill a water drum and transport it on a pick-up truck. As I said it is only when a person has to make such efforts to get water that he comes to realise its true value.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad also spoke of how, under his direction, the IAAAE was developing ‘model villages’ in remote parts of Africa, which included streetlights, greenhouses, community centres, paved streets, electricity and access to clean and easily portable drinking water.
Speaking about the reaction of the local people, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“Those very people, who lived on land which was previously completely cut off from all facilities and in the middle of a jungle, are left astonished…
They never thought that their homes could have electricity or water or that their streets could ever be paved. For those people such facilities are truly unbelievable and their happiness knows no bounds.”
The Khalifa said that in those villages where Ahmadi Muslims lived the IAAAE was also providing a connection to MTA. In this way, and for the very first time, the local people were able to see and hear the Khalifa of the Time.
Giving the example of the reaction of an elderly, African Ahmadi Muslim at seeing the Khalifa for the first time, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“Upon seeing me on MTA tears flowed from the eyes of the elderly African Ahmadi Muslim. He said that he used to wonder if he would ever be able to hear the words of the Khalifa directly and today Allah had fulfilled his prayers…
He also said that he used to think that he would die without ever being able to listen to the voice of the Khalifa-Waqt and so having heard his voice he felt an unparalleled sense of joy that he could never truly describe.”
The Khalifa concluded his address by speaking of the impact the work of the IAAAE was having on the lives of thousands of people.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“In distant and remote areas the IAAAE has not just provided physical water to quench the thirst of previously deprived people. It has not just provided physical water through which the local people can wash away the dirt from their bodies. It has not just illuminated darkened streets and darkened homes.
Rather, from a spiritual perspective it has also quenched the spiritual thirst of the Ahmadis to see and hear the Khalifa-Waqt…
They have provided the means of spiritual purification and cleansing of the soul. By providing the local people with access to MTA they have illuminated those villages with a shining spiritual light.”
The Symposium was attended by more than 110 members of the IAAAE from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.