My Visit to Punjab, Pakistan

 My stay

On 19th July, I went to Pakistan with my family. I was very excited about this trip, as I have many relatives who live in Pakistan.

Chawinda and Gujranwala

My first stay was in Chawinda stayed with my relatives there. We also went to Sialkot. Sialkot is home to a beautiful park. It had all types of rides, types we would normally not see here in England. Playing at the park with my sisters was fun, we played for a while before my parents decided that it was time to say farewell to this beautiful park. We also went to Gujranwala. Gujranwala is the city where my father used to live in Pakistan. It was exciting visiting the place where my father used to live.

Rabwah

Rabwah is a city built by our jama’at, founded by Hazrat Musleh-e-Ma’ood (ra). Rabwah demonstrates a city of peace filled with the motto,” Love For Allah, Hatred For None”. We visited places such as  Darul-Ziafat, which serves as a guest house, serving accommodation and meals. I really enjoyed exploring these new places. After, we went to Bahisht-e- Maqbara for prayers. Then we visited Gol bazaar for some shopping. We also visited Tahir heart institute, which is one of the leading hospitals in the world, caring for people from all walks of life.

I loved going to the places in Pakistan. I wanted to stay there for a long time but obviously I couldn’t. In England there are fun places but I would recommend Pakistan to people. It’s a fantastic place to be. There were lots of other places we went, such as: malls, bazaars, restaurants and much more. My family enjoyed Pakistan. Though I have to admit Pakistan is not like England. England is always freezing and gloomy but Pakistan is a sunny, bright place. I’m sure anyone who goes there will agree with my point of view.

Lahore

In Lahore we visited safari park. It was so much fun. There were lots of animals. Another day we went to Minar-e-Pakistan. There was a tall building there. There were also decorated buggies. We also sat on a boat. We went to Allama Iqbal sialkot house there were loads of memorable things like beds, rooms, books and much more. I would love if other people visit Pakistan.

 

Article by Maleeha Khalida Malik

Age 10

My Visit to Ontario, Canada Part 2

In the previous Travel blog, a dear sister described the mesmerizing views of Niagara Falls. In this post, I aim to do something similar and travel through various places in the province of Ontario, Canada. I assure you, just like post 1, this post will pursue you and your parents to book an immediate flight to Canada!

 

My stay

On June 4th, 2018 I traveled to Canada. I am very fortunate that I have a lot of relatives who live in Toronto, Canada. So, the accommodation was not a worry. I stayed with my cousins in Vaughan, which is only a 5-minute drive from the famous Peace Village.

 

Peace Village

Peace-Village is a faith-based sub-division which provides residence to over 200 houses and is centered by the beautiful Bait-ul-Islam Mosque. For an Ahmadi who has not had the opportunity to yet see the astonishing beauties of Rabwah and Qadian, seeing the streets of Peace Village filled with greetings of Assalamo’Alaikum (Peace with upon you) was an experience worth reviving one’s faith. I had the blessed opportunity to see Beloved Huzoor’s (May Allah be his helper) house which was currently under construction, however still a beautiful sight. Sadr Lajna Canada graciously invited me to Bait-e-Maryam, the Lajna office in Peace Village and gave me a detailed tour of the three-storey office. What a beautiful and well-constructed building with the atmosphere of love and harmony! 

 

Reading names of streets such Ahmadiyya Avenue, Bashir street, Mahmood Crescent and visiting a beautiful park named after the late Fazia Mahdi sahiba, all made me realise that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, our community is not only filled with love, respect and honour it has and will insha’Allah conquer the world!

Ramadhan and Eid at Bait-ul-Islam

Fortunately, my trip to Canada covered the last Asha’ra (Ten Days) of Ramadhan. I was very grateful to be able to regularly go to the Mosque to offer my Salat and listen to Dars leading up to Iftaar and Maghrib prayers. Dars lead by respected missionaries of the community was covered in Urdu and English to accommodate all listeners, and topics were covered in great detail. As per traditions of the Canada Jam’aat, anyone present at Dars is given a pack of dates, a water bottle and wipes to open their fast. Each evening spent in Peace Village during Ramadhan illustrated the truthfulness of Islam Ahmadiyyat. The Spirit of Eid in Canada is extensively celebrated. I saw my cousins making goody bags for friends, cooking extra portions of sawaiyaan (a vermicelli dish), to be distributed amongst family, friends and Muslim and non-Muslim neighbours.

Living in London, England I have always been used to the Mosque being full on Eid day. This time, I was excited to see where I would be offering my Eid prayers and how full the venue would be. To my surprise, the overflow at Bait-ul-Islam Mosque was very similar to what I had been experiencing back home. In fact, the large Mosque was unable to accommodate all members of the community and Lajna, therefore, prayed Eid Salat in Tahir hall, a multi-purpose building adjacent to Bait-ul-Islam Mosque. Again the streets of Peace Village echoed “Assalamo’Alaikum” and “Eid Mubarak” as we all headed back home to enjoy the rest of this blessed day.

Beach Day

Let’s now move a little out of the city of Toronto. June 17th, 2018, marked itself to be an extremely hot day, so we decided to travel to Innisfil Beach Park in Bradford, Canada. A beach Park, providing access to Lake Simcoe for swimming, boating and fishing. It’s an extremely well-planned structure really caught my eye! It has a distinctive parking area, followed by a small park overlooking the lake. Walking on, one sees a relatively big area dedicated to BBQ purposes only and last but definitely not least- a sandy beach! It was the perfect way to overcome a heat even the AC couldn’t seem to control! With enough privacy to enjoy scrumptious BBQ lunch; swing around a Frisbee; have water fights and craft an interesting sand castle, Innisfil Beach made the perfect picnic and nature capturing scenery!

Downtown-Toronto:

High-reaching buildings, heavy traffic, and lovely people; Downtown, Toronto is a must! A city center filled with eye-catching monuments which cannot be missed. The best experience is caught if one walks through the city and becomes familiar with its culture and beauty. We walked a full day starting our journey at Ripley’s Aquarium walking to various destinations including Nathan Phillips Square (acting as a forecourt to the Toronto City Hall) and the famous Dundas Square to make a round trip to Eaton Centre and gain a Canadian mall experience. Similar to London, Toronto is a multi-cultural city, one can easily choose different cuisines to dine at and you’re sure to come across people from different religions, ethnic backgrounds, and nationalities.

 

Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium is a place one must visit on their trip to Canada. It is a fascinating adventure for children and adults. Not only are thousands of sea life species collected and beautifully kept in habitats throughout the Aquarium to adore and learn about. Interesting talks are held to help understand the steps we must take to save under-sea animals but also their habitats. Children can run around in the bright-coloured spacious environment, feel various sea life species and try their hands at a number of interesting experiments set up in each gallery throughout the Aquarium. Take pictures, make videos, learn and adore sea life as close as never seen before!

 

And if that doesn’t sound enough, how about visiting the gift job, where I bought a beautiful wooden shark which my nephew and I later, assembled and painted together. From stuffed toys to puzzles, Ripley’s sure has it all!

The CN Tower

The famously known CN (Canadian National) Tower is a tower standing 1,815.3 feet tall. Being the ninth tallest free-standing structure in the world. For those who do not have enough time to visit most parts of Toronto, visiting the CN Tower is an excellent way of overlooking Toronto City and breath-taking sights of sunsets, aeroplanes landing up close and busy trains passing through the city.

 

The CN tower has plenty of spaces to sit and eat, from in-built restaurants. It provides exciting views at each level. The staff takes visitor’s over 300 feet over-ground where visitors have the chance to walk around its globe and adore the city or walk over the glass floor and step out into a very safe gated Terrace. We decided to go to the Terrace, sharp at sunset. Anyone, planning to visit the CN tower should do the same! It was a view one cannot miss and capture in their eyes forever. Anyone not fond of stepping out can also make the best use of the ceiling mirrors and take pictures for the memory of their trip.

Scarborough Bluffs

When visiting Canada, seeing mountains, rivers and lakes, was one of the desires which had to be fulfilled! I visited Scarborough bluffs, which are beautiful cliffs overseeing Lake Ontario. This sight was not only full of surprise but also a description of the thought, Allah is the best of all creators. To reach the cliffs, we walked through a small jungle crossing through a narrow way which opened itself to the edge of a cliff illustrating a sight which seemed as though the sky and sea unite at this place. Clear skies and the blue sea with bright greenery and fine crafts of spits and cliffs, this is the beauty Allah the Almighty has hidden in the city of Scarborough, Canada.

Vaughan Mills and Toronto Premium Outlet

Like, any other person visiting Canada, it was a must for me that I make the most of the shopping experience in Canada. Being able to purchase clothes and other accessories at more decent prices, was definitely a delight to my eyes and wallet! I made a few trips over the course of three weeks to Vaughan Mills shopping centre, as it was relatively close to where I was staying. Vaughan Mills exposes you to various shops and places to eat. This is where I had the opportunity to try my very first Sushi dish and the famous Canadian dish: Poutine, which are fries covered with gravy and cheese.

Toronto Premium Outlet is also an excellent choice for anyone in areas around Milton, wanting to explore different retail options in areas or spend a lovely day out with family. With an inclusive but open space, every shop stands out well and demonstrates a safe and peaceful environment. It provided great sales and options to buy clothes for kids and adults of all ages.

Article by Sabiha Khullat Cheema  

In the previous Travel blog, a dear sister described the mesmerizing views of Niagara Falls. In this post, I aim to do something similar and travel through various places in the province of Ontario, Canada. I assure you, just like post 1, this post will pursue you and your parents to book an immediate flight to Canada!

 

My stay

On June 4th, 2018 I traveled to Canada. I am very fortunate that I have a lot of relatives who live in Toronto, Canada. So, the accommodation was not a worry. I stayed with my cousins in Vaughan, which is only a 5-minute drive from the famous Peace Village.

 

Peace Village

Peace-Village is a faith-based sub-division which provides residence to over 200 houses and is centered by the beautiful Bait-ul-Islam Mosque. For an Ahmadi who has not had the opportunity to yet see the astonishing beauties of Rabwah and Qadian, seeing the streets of Peace Village filled with greetings of Assalamo’Alaikum (Peace with upon you) was an experience worth reviving one’s faith. I had the blessed opportunity to see Beloved Huzoor’s (May Allah be his helper) house which was currently under construction, however still a beautiful sight. Sadr Lajna Canada graciously invited me to Bait-e-Maryam, the Lajna office in Peace Village and gave me a detailed tour of the three-storey office. What a beautiful and well-constructed building with the atmosphere of love and harmony! 

 

Reading names of streets such Ahmadiyya Avenue, Bashir street, Mahmood Crescent and visiting a beautiful park named after the late Fazia Mahdi sahiba, all made me realise that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, our community is not only filled with love, respect and honour it has and will insha’Allah conquer the world!

Ramadhan and Eid at Bait-ul-Islam

Fortunately, my trip to Canada covered the last Asha’ra (Ten Days) of Ramadhan. I was very grateful to be able to regularly go to the Mosque to offer my Salat and listen to Dars leading up to Iftaar and Maghrib prayers. Dars lead by respected missionaries of the community was covered in Urdu and English to accommodate all listeners, and topics were covered in great detail. As per traditions of the Canada Jam’aat, anyone present at Dars is given a pack of dates, a water bottle and wipes to open their fast. Each evening spent in Peace Village during Ramadhan illustrated the truthfulness of Islam Ahmadiyyat. The Spirit of Eid in Canada is extensively celebrated. I saw my cousins making goody bags for friends, cooking extra portions of sawaiyaan (a vermicelli dish), to be distributed amongst family, friends and Muslim and non-Muslim neighbours.

Living in London, England I have always been used to the Mosque being full on Eid day. This time, I was excited to see where I would be offering my Eid prayers and how full the venue would be. To my surprise, the overflow at Bait-ul-Islam Mosque was very similar to what I had been experiencing back home. In fact, the large Mosque was unable to accommodate all members of the community and Lajna, therefore, prayed Eid Salat in Tahir hall, a multi-purpose building adjacent to Bait-ul-Islam Mosque. Again the streets of Peace Village echoed “Assalamo’Alaikum” and “Eid Mubarak” as we all headed back home to enjoy the rest of this blessed day.

Beach Day

Let’s now move a little out of the city of Toronto. June 17th, 2018, marked itself to be an extremely hot day, so we decided to travel to Innisfil Beach Park in Bradford, Canada. A beach Park, providing access to Lake Simcoe for swimming, boating and fishing. It’s an extremely well-planned structure really caught my eye! It has a distinctive parking area, followed by a small park overlooking the lake. Walking on, one sees a relatively big area dedicated to BBQ purposes only and last but definitely not least- a sandy beach! It was the perfect way to overcome a heat even the AC couldn’t seem to control! With enough privacy to enjoy scrumptious BBQ lunch; swing around a Frisbee; have water fights and craft an interesting sand castle, Innisfil Beach made the perfect picnic and nature capturing scenery!

Downtown-Toronto:

High-reaching buildings, heavy traffic, and lovely people; Downtown, Toronto is a must! A city center filled with eye-catching monuments which cannot be missed. The best experience is caught if one walks through the city and becomes familiar with its culture and beauty. We walked a full day starting our journey at Ripley’s Aquarium walking to various destinations including Nathan Phillips Square (acting as a forecourt to the Toronto City Hall) and the famous Dundas Square to make a round trip to Eaton Centre and gain a Canadian mall experience. Similar to London, Toronto is a multi-cultural city, one can easily choose different cuisines to dine at and you’re sure to come across people from different religions, ethnic backgrounds and nationalities.

Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium is a place one must visit on their trip to Canada. It is a fascinating adventure for children and adults. Not only are thousands of sea life species collected and beautifully kept in habitats throughout the Aquarium to adore and learn about. Interesting talks are held to help understand the steps we must take to save under-sea animals but also their habitats. Children can run around in the bright-coloured spacious environment, feel various sea life species and try their hands at a number of interesting experiments set up in each gallery throughout the Aquarium. Take pictures, make videos, learn and adore sea life as close as never seen before!

 

And if that doesn’t sound enough, how about visiting the gift job, where I bought a beautiful wooden shark which my nephew and I later, assembled and painted together. From stuffed toys to puzzles, Ripley’s sure has it all!

The CN Tower

The famously known CN (Canadian National) Tower is a tower standing 1,815.3 feet tall. Being the ninth tallest free-standing structure in the world. For those who do not have enough time to visit most parts of Toronto, visiting the CN Tower is an excellent way of overlooking Toronto City and breath-taking sights of sunsets, aeroplanes landing up close and busy trains passing through the city.

 

The CN tower has plenty of spaces to sit and eat, from in-built restaurants. It provides exciting views at each level. The staff takes visitor’s over 300 feet over-ground where visitors have the chance to walk around its globe and adore the city or walk over the glass floor and step out into a very safe gated Terrace. We decided to go to the Terrace, sharp at sunset. Anyone, planning to visit the CN tower should do the same! It was a view one cannot miss and capture in their eyes forever. Anyone not fond of stepping out can also make the best use of the ceiling mirrors and take pictures for the memory of their trip.

Scarborough Bluffs

When visiting Canada, seeing mountains, rivers and lakes, was one of the desires which had to be fulfilled! I visited Scarborough bluffs, which are beautiful cliffs overseeing Lake Ontario. This sight was not only full of surprise but also a description of the thought, Allah is the best of all creators. To reach the cliffs, we walked through a small jungle crossing through a narrow way which opened itself to the edge of a cliff illustrating a sight which seemed as though the sky and sea unite at this place. Clear skies and the blue sea with bright greenery and fine crafts of spits and cliffs, this is the beauty Allah the Almighty has hidden in the city of Scarborough, Canada.

Vaughan Mills and Toronto Premium Outlet

Like, any other person visiting Canada, it was a must for me that I make the most of the shopping experience in Canada. Being able to purchase clothes and other accessories at more decent prices, was definitely a delight to my eyes and wallet! I made a few trips over the course of three weeks to Vaughan Mills shopping centre, as it was relatively close to where I was staying. Vaughan Mills exposes you to various shops and places to eat. This is where I had the opportunity to try my very first Sushi dish and the famous Canadian dish: Poutine, which are fries covered with gravy and cheese.

Toronto Premium Outlet is also an excellent choice for anyone in areas around Milton, wanting to explore different retail options in areas or spend a lovely day out with family. With an inclusive but open space, every shop stands out well and demonstrates a safe and peaceful environment. It provided great sales and options to buy clothes for kids and adults of all ages.

Article by Sabiha Khullat Cheema  

My Visit to Toronto, Canada Part 1

niagra_falls

The Niagara Falls is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world with over 14 million visitors each year. The Niagara Falls are located between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and New York, consisting of three different falls, the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. The Horseshoe Falls are located on the Canadian side while the others are located in New York. The Niagara Falls was the most anticipated aspect of my trip and something I had been looking forward to since I was a little girl. Waterfalls have never failed to amaze me. The beautiful natural flow of water to such depths makes them a fascinating sight. 

My stay was in the Ahmadiyya abode of peace where my mums Aunt lives in Toronto. We began our journey in the afternoon around 12pm, as the journey was one and a half hours long. The weather was beautiful and it was incredibly sunny with temperatures going to 35 degrees. Once we arrived at the Niagara Falls, after parking up, we began the trip with some cold iced frappes from Tim Hortons, a very well known and popular café in Canada. The Niagara Falls attraction is made up of a small funfair with many restaurants and cafes surrounding the area, leading to the waterfall.

As we took the last stride towards the waterfall, I tried to keep my eyes down to ensure I would only see the magnificent sight once it was right in front of me. I opened my eyes to one of the beautiful and scenic places I had ever seen. The noise of the water rushing down with such force embraced my ears and the pleasant rush of breeze across my face made me close my eyes and lean my head forward. I took a while just letting the pleasant sound of the water and the breeze play at my ears, as I turned my head to take in the whole view of the falls. Saying I was “mesmerised” comes somewhat close to describing how I felt standing in front of one of the world’s most beautiful places.

After taking many photos of the view which in no case did justice to the actual beauty of the falls, we went to queue up for the boat ride of the falls. I saw people drenched in water as they were leaving the boat, wearing disposable jackets with caps. We were each handed an orange jacket which we put on as we got into the boat. As the boat started moving we could view the Niagara fall from a different angle from the bottom and see the rush of water falling down, giving off white smoke. As we neared the center of the falls, we felt light spritzes of water fall on our faces. The wind got harsher as we started getting wet with heavy droplets of water the nearer we moved to the falls. The boat took us right up close to the centre of the falls at which point we were all drenched in water from head to toe. I quietly stood at the edge of the boat looking up as far as my eyes could reach to take in the falls and the white smoke. The boat then turned, and we started distancing from the falls. I turned to face the waterfall one last time to take in the last few moments of being at such close proximity.

Once we got off the boat, we roamed around the funfair for a while, enjoying the colourful setups and displays before having a scrumptious lunch of burgers and fries at Wendy’s. We decided to walk back and stand at a different point to view the falls and take some more photographs. For me, I just wanted to cherish a few more moments quietly as I stood and watched the falls. It was definitely a day I will not forget, and I have wonderful memories and pictures to take me back to this trip, allowing me to cherish it forever.

Article by A.M Hadi               Pictures by A.M Hadi and S.K Cheema  

My Visit to Washington DC, USA

Our arrival in the USA was a little more complicated and delayed than was expected. Having missed our direct flight to Washington, we were handed alternative boarding passes for a connecting flight from New York to DC. A further misfortune was the fact that our beloved Aunty had boarded our initial flight… without us. It’s safe to say the air hostesses got an earful once she realised they were nearing take-off and she was still seated amongst three empty seats. On the other side… we sat watching from behind the airport windows as our flight began to take-off… praying our Aunty was alright. Nevertheless, eventually we reunited at the DC International Airport and it’s safe to say, we had never been happier to see our Aunty.

The rest of our stay in DC was eventful, to say the least. We stayed with my Aunt’s family in Maryland, who are extremely blessed to have a house right by Bait Ur Rehman Masjid. Taking us from central DC to every shopping mall possible, our family sure kept us moving and entertained. Seeing the White House in real life felt surreal, although it was rather difficult to get a good glimpse of through the dozens of security measures surrounding it. Capitol Hill as we hear it in all the American shows, had the inner tourist in me going wild- it felt as though I could finally draw a personal connection to all the American TV I had watched. The food and the portion sizes lived up to their expectations and certainly did not disappoint! 

With the grace of Allah, we also had the opportunity to attend our second Jalsa of the year after having attended Jalsa Salana Canada only a few days prior, we were now blessed to be making our way to Pennsylvania for the 70th Jalsa Salana USA 2018. The American Jalsa Salana was a different kind of experience altogether, but regardless, the sense of familiarity I felt despite being from across the globe, remains very close to my heart. From sitting amongst sisters listening to the inspirational speeches, having duty holders request us to stop talking, estimating what toilet queue will end faster, to queuing up for the delicious langar food; the sense of familiarity was comforting, to say the least. But that is the blessing of our Jamaat, no matter which part of the world you travel to, you know one thing will always remain the same, and that is the love and unity of Khilafat. Alhamdullilah for a mesmerising trip.

Author: Aneela Mahmood