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100 Years Ago... - Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II’s First Week in Dalhousie

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad in Dalhousie

Al Hakam 14 July 1918

Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira

As readers will know, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II [may Allah be pleased with him] has travelled to Dalhousie at the advice of doctors. 

In the afternoon of 25 June, along with his companions, he arrived at Dalhousie. After arriving at Banikhet, Huzoor had to alight the vehicle that he was travelling on, and along with Maulvi Sheikh Abdur Rahman Sahib, Doctor [Mir Muhammad Ismail] Sahib and his brothers [Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra and Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra], he walked up the hill to reach Dalhousie. This was around a three-mile walk. The rest of the entourage stayed with the luggage. 

As the old road is currently under construction, yakkas and tangas [horse-pulled vehicles] travel on an alternative route. In order to control traffic, the horse-carts that arrive to travel up the hill at 12 o’clock go up the hill not before 5 o’clock. Thus, we had to wait until the allocated time to travel further, while Huzoor went ahead. 

The reason Huzoor went earlier was not because he was in a hurry to reach the destination, rather tasks had been mutually designated. One party remained with the luggage whilst the other went to search for a place to stay, the latter being the more challenging task. Huzoor took upon himself the responsibility of searching for a place to stay, which he did. Huzoor arranged a hotel where Chaudhry Muhammad Ismail Khan Sahib, District Superintendent, was residing. He showed great sincerity and compassion. Allah reward him. 

 

Example of Huzoor’s high morals

This is not the first time I have had the good fortune of accompanying Huzoor on a journey. That is why what I am about to narrate is of no surprise to me, but many members of our Jamaat may not be aware of this. 

I have seen Huzoor on journeys when he was not yet Khalifatul Masih and now I have seen him on a journey during his Khilafat. In both states, he strived to provide comfort to those accompanying him on journeys, and never did he bear in mind his status or individuality in doing so. 

During his tour of India, I noticed (as did others who were on the trip) that at times, Huzoor would be the first to rise in the morning. After waking up, Huzoor would fill a vessel full of water, place it at the bedside of his companion [for ablution] and would wake him up. At railway stations, if others were carrying the luggage, Huzoor would also carry it with them. Thus, through his actions, Huzoor would show us how one’s treatment should be towards fellow travellers. 

There are ample examples of how the Noble Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would distribute responsibilities during journeys. At one occasion, when the companions had assigned tasks among themselves to cook food, the Chief of all Prophetssa himself went to fetch firewood. Such instances cannot be seen as ordinary occurrences, rather they are great examples of morals of the highest order. 

An ordinary person performing such a deed among his peers does not equate to such a person around whom the hearts, minds and souls of many orbit, and whose single gesture is enough for anyone to gladly sacrifice themselves, and then for him to show such standards of morals, forgetting their stature and position. This is truly something exceptional. 

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, even before Khilafat was worthy of being served. However, now with such stature, on journeys he takes care of his companions and is ever more hospitable, and now, in spite of the stature of Khilafat, this characteristic has evolved even more. 

This is not the first time. In Dalhousie we have often noticed that Huzoor takes part in manual work and does his work and the work of his servants with his own hands. Huzoor takes great care of the comfort and ease of his servants, even now that he is ill and has travelled on doctors’ advice. Those travelling with him feel great honour to be with him and are ever-ready for the opportunity for Huzoor to express something and for them to accomplish it. However, we have observed that Huzoor gives precedence to the comfort of those travelling with him than his own. At first glance, one may think that there is no difference or distinction [in stature] between us and Huzoor, and due to the nature of work, a person may not be able to distinguish master from servant. 

To those who are not here with us, how should I describe the great character of this person. Words cannot do justice. In fact, permit me to say that even a great artist cannot paint the true picture. Today, we consider the Great Umar Farooq’sra entry in Bait-ul-Maqdas [Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem] with his camel’s bridle in hand and his servant riding the camel to be a wondrous and miraculous sign of high morals. However, for those who he lived among and who witnessed such revolutionary morals on a daily basis, it was an ordinary sight. 

Similarly, those who accompany this “Fazl-e-Umar” [Hazrat Musleh Maudra], seeing such occurrences on a daily basis may be considered ordinary, but a time will come when these instances of wondrous morals will have a deep impression and impact on the hearts of hundreds of thousands. The biography of this great personality will be collated through these very high morals. 

In short, Huzoor went ahead in search of a place to stay and accordingly arranged a hotel where the rest of Huzoor’s entourage gathered to stay. 

 

From the hotel to finding another place

The location of the hotel – especially the rooms that had been booked – was at such a place that was not at all beneficial for health. So, the search for a new place started from the very first day of our stay, which Huzoor took upon himself. Travelling to various locations of Dalhousie, Huzoor himself went around approaching property owners and house stewards enquiring if their houses and villas had any rooms available. This process continued from 25 to 29 June, and for this, Huzoor had to move around extensively. Eventually, out of God’s grace, we found the place that we are currently staying at. 

There are two large rooms in this building. Khan Miyan Abdur Rahman Khan Sahib and Khan Miyan Muhammad Abdullah Khan Sahib have also arrived, and Huzoor has arranged for a modern partition in his own room for their sake to split the room in two. Huzoor resides in one room, the Khan brothers in the other and members of Huzoor’s entourage (Huzoor’s brothers, Maulvi Abdur Rahman Sahib and Khalifa Taqiyuddin Sahib) in the veranda. 

 

Fasts

Now, after finding a place to settle down, the time of fasting has come upon us. Huzoor also intends to fast and has said that he will see if his health permits by initially keeping one fast. Huzoor does not just strictly urge those travelling with him to observe fasts but he is also very mindful of their comfort and ease. Apart from a few who are unwell, the rest of the entourage is, by the grace of God, fasting. Very generously and openheartedly does Huzoor cater for the needs of his companions, so much so that the needs of those working in the kitchen are also in Huzoor’s mind. Huzoor wishes ease for all his fellow travellers. 

Prayers are being offered at their correct timings. The muezzin [one who calls the Azan – call to prayer] has been given instructions on the exact time when he must give the Azan. 

 

The laziness that produces sin

One day at Fajr time, a fellow traveller was asleep while the one sleeping next to him was awake. Huzoor said: 

“Why have you not wakened him? This is wrong. Sometimes people are of the thought that if someone is sleeping peacefully, then wakening them would be disturbing them. Such a thought is wrong and sinful. For prayer, one should wake people up physically and no one should think that by doing so, they would be disturbing them or causing them discomfort. Such care for a person’s comfort is actually a sin, causing another to be bereft of the blessings of a righteous and obligatory deed. One should cater for the rights of their neighbours. To provide them comfort is a great right of theirs and to prompt them on righteous acts is actually a great source of comfort. From now on, no one should let their neighbour sleep while it is time for prayer.”

Thus, these days are extremely sublime. We have a comfortable place to stay and it is having a positive impact on Huzoor’s health. Although nowadays some complaints reach Huzoor, however generally we are witnessing God’s blessings. This first week has passed with such engagements and activities. 

Whilst out for a walk one day, Huzoor met the former Deputy Commissioner of District Gurdaspur, Mr H D Watson. This gentleman is always well-known for his gentle disposition. He recognised Huzoor, enquired about his health and happily requested for a more formal audience. Therefore, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih went to his visit him one day and he showed utmost respect and regard to Huzoor. Their sitting lasted quite long and towards the end, he expressed his desire to meet Huzoor again. 

 

The conduct of English officials

There is no better way to win the hearts than by good morals, and it becomes the foremost responsibility of officials of the government to show morals of the highest order to win peoples’ hearts. The higher up you go in the hierarchy of the British Government, you will see a distinct transformation in their ethics and morals. They are ever ready to treat each citizen with immense kindness. 

As long as Mr Watson remained in Gurdaspur, the general public sang praises of his warm-heartedness, and now District Jalandhar enjoys the pleasure of having such an officer.

The Government should bear in mind how much some of their district officials are well-known among the masses for their good conduct. At times, the slightest inattentiveness or disregard can have a negative impact on the public. It would not be inappropriate to say that the political situation that arose in previous days was initially a result of the poor work ethics of some officials. Nonetheless, such officers are a blessing for the Government and members of the public. 

Note: The journey from Pathankot to Dalhousie will be covered in an upcoming issue.

[By Editor Al Hakam – Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira]

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