25 Aug 10 Questions with Qaid Dallas
Every year at Jalsa the best majalis are recognized for the work they have done based on the criteria set forth by the Alme Inaami committee. The Majalis are divided into groups based on their size and this year’s winners included the following
Large Majalis Medium Majalis Small Majalis
1) Dallas 1) Austin 1) Oshkosh
2) Detroit 2) Fort Worth 2) Syracuse
3) Philadelphia 3) Chicago Southwest 3) Lehigh Valley
Regional Qaid Sahib Virginia, Ahmed Bajwa, was awarded as the Best Region award.
We sat down with Qaid Dallas and asked him a few questions about winning the Alme Inaami and about his Majlis.
1. Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Mansoor Ahmad Rana. I was born and raised in Rabwah, Pakistan and migrated to the US in 2007. I lived for almost a year in Northern Virginia, and a few months each in St. Louis, MO and Central Jersey before I moved to Dallas, TX in August 2008. I am an applications developer by profession. I am married and have 3 kids: Masroor Ahmad Rana – age 5 years, Eesha Ahmad Rana – age 3 years and Sarmad Ahmad Rana – 8 months old.
2. How long have you been Qaid of Dallas and who were the previous Qaideen?
I was appointed to serve as Qaid MKA Dallas starting on January 1st, 2014 to complete the term for our previous Qaid Sahib,Faraz Ahmad who had to take leave as he was going to join US Marines in San Diego, CA. I was elected and approved to serve again as Qaid MKA Dallas for the term November 2014 – October 2016. As per my knowledge, Tahir Malik Sahib served as the first Qaid MKA Dallas. Zaheer Bajwa Sahib, the current General Secretary of Jamaat USA, has also served as Qaid MKA Dallas. MKA Dallas won its first Alme Inaami under the Qiadat of Nauman Khizar Sahib in 2005. MKA Dallas won Alme Inaami twice under the Qiadat of Anwar Rafiq Sahib for Khuddam years November 2008 – October 2009 and November 2009 – October 2010. Tariq Habibullah Sahib and Faraz Ahmad Sahib served as Qaideen MKA Dallas before I was appointed to serve as one.
3. Introduce us to Dallas Majlis? How many Khuddam you have, young or older, any interesting facts?
Dallas Majlis consists of 60 khuddam and 25 atfal members. Most of the Khuddam are of Pakistani origins with few of Indian, Bangladeshi and Nigerian origins. Most of the khuddam are between 20 to 30 years, although we have quite a few khuddam in their 30s and in their teens also.
4. How did you find out / what was going through your mind when you got the call from Sadr Sahib?
I received a call from Sadr Sahib. After the initial greetings were exchanged, Sadr Sahib said he had some good news. I was wondering what the news could be. My first thought was that someone had been blessed with a child, but wondered why Sadr Sahib would call me himself. I remained curious when Sadr Sahib informed me that Dallas was awarded Alme Inaami. I was speechless and all i could think was, “Alhamdulilah.”
5. What does it take to win an Alme Inaami? Share with us your Majlis’s core strengths?
Now when I look back at the previous year, I see it is all Allah’s blessings that we received this prestigious award as we did not do anything extraordinary. What we tried to do was to have some activity for most of the departments each month, to achieve this we focused on having regular activities on a predefined schedule. For instance, our Feed the Hungry program is scheduled every 4th Saturday of the month, mosque cleaning is scheduled for every Thursday, and we have arranged going to a jail ministry for tabligh every Monday evening. Apart from these regular activities we had other non-regular unplanned activities also, but as these activities were already scheduled, the non-regular activities were easier to tackle.
6. Tell us something memorable about the last MKA year?
Most memorable thing for me was hosting Ansar Leadership Conference in Dallas as it was a major national event that we hosted only a week or two after I was appointed as Qaid MKA Dallas. I was really nervous as I was not sure how to tackle it, but I was amazed on the great response from Dallas khuddam. I picked up the phone and started calling khuddam for duties; I was afraid that I may not be able to get a good response on such a short notice, but I was surprised when even those khuddam started showing up for duties who we do not see regularly at the mosque. Another reason ALC was memorable was because Sadr Sahib came to Dallas and khuddam on duty had a really interesting informal meeting with him.
Another memorable accomplishment last year was really successful blood drives. We had 5 blood drives at community colleges and our mosque with more than 350 total pints collected.
7. Can you list a few things you were able to accomplish?
MKA Dallas sponsored and cooked Iftar for the whole Jamaat this Ramadan also as we did last year. We collected funds from khuddam and prepared and served food to all Jamaat members at the mosque. We had Chicken BBQ, Rice, Chickpeas curry and Alfredo Pasta on the menu – which was all cooked by Khuddam – along with ice cream as dessert. This was a great, fun event and was liked by all Jamaat member.
The annual picnic is always a memorable, fun experience with BBQ, sports and jet skis at the lake.
We also had khuddam from Gulf region go to a shooting range near Dallas and learn basics of self defence and handling weapons, arranged by previous Qaid MKA Dallas, Faraz Ahmad Sahib; this was a really fun event.
8. Be honest, were you kind of expecting to win Alme Inaami?
No, I was not expecting to win Alme Inaami as I was not sure what it takes to win Alme Inaami. On the other hand whenever I met Sadr Sahib, he would say that Dallas has the potential to win it. In response I would request him to pray for us. So I was not expecting it, but I was praying for Dallas to win Alme Inaami.
9. What advice do you have for Qaideen, especially new Qaideen?
Most important thing is constant prayers for yourself and your Majlis; Allah’s blessings makes tasks easier. Being a Qaid is a tough job with a lot of responsibility. For most of the Jamaat activities, responsibility lies on khuddam to execute them. A Qaid has to balance his life between the triangle of his Qaid duties, work/student life and family life, each equally important which requires a great self sacrifice. It is not a single person job, it requires teamwork, having a good team in the form of MKA Amila is the key.
There are a lot of things that a Qaid is tasked with on a very short notice, having them done is all the more important. So it helps a lot to have a set of activities scheduled regularly on an ongoing basis as they will be executed as per schedule with little effort and you get time and resources to focus on the other ad hoc requests/tasks or to plan for additional activities.
Having a strong bond between khuddam helps. Try to be friends with and know all khuddam in your majlis, in small majalis it might be easier but in large majalis it takes some effort, knowing strengths and interests of individual khuddam helps you identify what kind of activities they may be able to help with in a better way. Don’t hesitate to reach out to all khuddam, just relying on a few khuddam for all activities does not help as it will exhaust them and make the others lazy. Don’t get upset/frustrated if you don’t get desired response.
I am also still working on some of these, but I have learned these from both positive/negative experiences.
10. What are your goals for your Majlis next year? And what challenges do you foresee?
This year my focus was to streamline the Khidmat-e-Khalq activities. Now as we have most of the Khidmat-e-Khalq and Waqar-e-Amal activities taken care of, my focus next year is to streamline Tabligh activities and work on khuddam Taleem and Tarbiyyat. I do foresee some challenges with Tarbiyyat, but with prayers and Allah’s blessings, Inshallah! we will overcome them.