Last Updated on 2nd September 2022
Faran Rabbani, USA Correspondent
Oscar (Ameen) Payan was born to a Honduran practising Catholic mother and an El Salvadorian father. He grew up in a religious environment. Growing up, his parents would religiously take him to the church, where he would serve as an altar boy, helping the Catholic priest with the prayer services.
In his teenage years, a couple of decades ago, he befriended his peers from different countries. Among them was a young Ahmadi Muslim boy named Haris Choudhary. But at that time, neither Oscar nor Haris spoke of religion to one another. Oscar and his friends used to hang around on a hillside dirt road in the city of Chantilly, where he grew up. He used to come here and play with his friends. But then, in high school, he became rebellious towards everything and everyone and got into bad company. Eventually, he got into trouble with the law and ended up in prison. He also went through a failed marriage, as a result of which he was now unable to meet his son as well.
In 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States hard, everyone went into lockdown, and so did Oscar. But the lockdown hurt him, and he became depressed. In his depression, he became heavily dependent on alcohol to feel calm. He would wake up every morning at 6 am and would walk to the local alcohol store to purchase it. One day he got tired of this, and after waking up, something inside of him told him to visit the place on the hillside where he used to play with his friends growing up.
So, on one cold morning in January 2022, he decided to walk to this place. Lo and behold, there now stood a beautiful structure on that hillside by the dirt road. That building is the Mubarak Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Virginia. It was still dark, and cars were arriving; Oscar decided to muster the courage and walked inside. It was time for the Fajr prayer. He sat at the back of the hall on a chair and observed and even participated in the prayer itself.
Afterwards, he was welcomed by the local members that were there. I, the local missionary, was out of the country and came back a few weeks later and saw Oscar at the mosque at Fajr prayer and became friends with him instantly. I, along with regional Qaid MKA USA, Bilal Raja Sahib, started talking to Oscar about Islam Ahmadiyyat and how it can help him with the problems he was facing in his life, from substance abuse to alcohol addiction, anger issues to lack of focus and an overwhelming sense of loneliness. We spoke about different issues and topics from time to time. And then, one day, we presented to him the Ten conditions of Bai‘at and explained them one by one. Afterwards, we asked Oscar to pray to God and ask Him if Ahmadiyya Islam was the truth. Over the course of our discussion, we even showed him a picture of the Promised Messiahas and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa as well.
Upon seeing the picture of Huzooraa, Oscar expressed his desire that he would love to meet the Khalifa. When told that the Khalifa lives in London, UK, Oscar became overwhelmed and said he would love to go to London to see and meet Huzooraa. I told him to pray and that perhaps Allah might make it so that he travelled to London or that Allah brought London to him, so that he could meet Huzooraa.
Three days later, Oscar met us at the mosque and told us he was ready to become an Ahmadi Muslim. He added that he felt his prayers were answered and already felt calm whenever he thought about the mosque and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. And that it was no coincidence that he ended up at the Mubarak Mosque on that lonely morning and that he took this as the sign from Allah the Almighty guiding him to Islam Ahmadiyyat.
On Friday, 24 June 2021, Oscar Payan joined the community and signed his bai‘at at the Mubarak Mosque in Virginia. Oscar took the Muslim name “Ameen” and is improving his religious knowledge daily. Oscar, now known as Ameen at the local mosque, still wakes up at 6 am in the morning, but instead of walking to the alcohol store to buy alcohol, he walks 30 minutes to the mosque to come for Fajr prayer.