Time and Tide Waited for One
Huzooraa Narrates a Momentous Series of Events
Asif M Basit, London
The days that ensued the demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrt and before the Election of the Fifth Khalifa were turbulent days for the entire Jamaat. A lot has been said and written about that time and its sensitivity, but we always remained curious to know what Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa went through. 15 years have passed in this curiosity but thanks to Al Hakam that enabled me to muster up the courage to ask.
A few days ago, in a blessed moment, I enquired about this from Huzooraa and Huzooraa most graciously shed light on it. I have no claim or experience of speedwriting, but Allah enabled me to jot down every word that Huzooraa said in reply. Below, is the translation of the original Urdu narration of events by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
“I arrived home from my office to be told by my wife that Miyan Luqman had called from London to say that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrt had passed away. I immediately called Dr. Nuri sahib who was in London at the time, as a medical advisor to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrt. He confirmed the devastating news.
This news came as a great shock. The sorrow was overwhelming, but the sensitivity of the situation demanded complete control of emotions as it was a testing time for the entire Jamaat. As Nazir-e-Ala [Chief Secretary], it was my responsibility to organise the series of events that would follow and oversee them.
I called the Private Secretary in London who, I realised, was then unaware of the situation. I asked him to gather all the details and send them to me as soon as possible.
In the meantime, I called a meeting of the Ulia Committee, which comprised the key officials of Jamaat bodies, like Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya and Tehrik-e-Jadid etc. I gave instructions in the wake of the emergency situation. I also had to ensure that visas were up to date and that there were travel arrangements for members of the Electoral College; those whose visas had expired, I ensured that they were given visas as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, I received the details of the time and cause of Huzoor’srt demise from the Private Secretary. I conveyed these to Miyan Ahmad sahib [the late Sahibzada Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib] along with instructions on drafting an announcement to inform the Jamaats around the world. He brought back to me the draft for approval, which was then sent out to all Jamaats and also broadcast on MTA. I had already instructed Sultan Mahmood Anwar sahib to make a formal announcement after the Asr prayer in Masjid Mubarak.
That time was a test of patience. On one hand, there was the grief of Huzoor’srt demise and on the other, the responsibility of fulfilling a crucial duty that had been entrusted to me by Huzoorrt: the duty of supervising the arrangements of Intikhab-e-Khilafat [election of the new Khalifa].
With these mixed emotions, I headed home to prepare for my flight to London. The preparation, by the way, was nothing more than grabbing a few clothes alongside my travel documents and setting off for departure.
As visas were still being processed for a few members of the Electoral College, it was decided that the members be split into two convoys: one to fly on the same day and the other to leave the following day once the visas had been acquired.
In the first convoy were Miyan Khurshid sahib [the late Sahibzada Mirza Khurshid Ahmad sahib], Miyan Ahmad sahib [the late Sahibzada Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib], Miyan Anas Ahmad sahib and myself; we were fourteen members altogether. We set off from Rabwah to Lahore where we were to catch the flight. There was a short transit in Abu Dhabi from where we boarded the London bound flight.
I had already given instructions from Rabwah about washing and shrouding the body. When we arrived in London, the body had been washed, shrouded and placed in a casket and Huzoorrt was laid in state in Mahmood Hall for members of the Jamaat to pay their respects. I, too, initially paid my respects here in Mahmood Hall. The way one feels upon seeing their Imam in that situation cannot be described in words. But you can imagine; so, imagine what my feelings were in that moment.
By then, it was time for Namaz [prayers], so we offered Namaz in the Fazl Mosque. Now, Huzoor’srt body had been moved to a room adjacent to Mahmood Hall. I went to that room. A strange moment that was; in the room was Huzoorrt, myself and absolute silence. It was a surreal setting. I stayed there, at Huzoor’srt side, for quite some time, praying for Huzoorrt.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrt, had issued a set of instructions well before his demise, for such an emergency situation. One clause was that before the arrival of Nazir-e-Ala in London, Amir Jamaat UK would be Additional Nazir-e-Ala to oversee necessary arrangements in the meantime. Upon arrival, I took charge from Amir sahib UK and commenced the process for convening the Electoral College, the funeral and the burial etc. Time was short; a lot had to be done and every task required full care and attention.
By the sheer blessings of Allah, everything was organised in good time. I felt at peace that I had fulfilled my duty. Every moment was spent praying that Allah granted the Jamaat a new Khalifa, and that I and every member of the Jamaat were able to obey the new Khalifa; every moment was spent praying that Allah may keep the Jamaat united.
This state is, indeed, a state of fear. So of course, there was fear. But there was also firm faith in Allah’s promise that He would replace this state of fear with security. Thus, I was under the strong belief that Allah would grant the Jamaat a new Khalifa and that our fears would be replaced with peace.
Then came the time for the Election. As a member, I also entered the Fazl Mosque that was full with members of the Electoral College. I stood near the shoes with Chaudhry Hameedullah sahib for a while. Chaudhry sahib, as the senior-most official of the Jamaat, was to preside over the Election, so when he was called to the front, I sat where I was stood, at the back of the Mosque.
The aura of the gathering was such that I did not have the courage to peer up and glance around nor did my conscience permit; a fragile time as it was. Thus, I sat with my gaze down. When my name was presented, I felt instant fear, so I lowered my head.
When the votes were counted and the announcement made, I was confident that there must have been a mistake in the count. What happened after this made me tremble; there was no choice but to accept the decree of God. The Bai‘at and silent prayer followed.
How I felt in that moment, the whole world saw on MTA. It was as if the weight of a mountain had been placed on my shoulders.
It was midnight or even past midnight when I got to [my residence at number] 41, Guest House. There, in my room was I, the darkness of the night and the blessings of my God.”
Huzooraa paused here. Having heard this directly from Huzooraa, I was enchanted and did not know how to ask for more details. But in that precious moment, I felt that I owed more to the readers of Al Hakam and so, built the courage to gather more pearls. “What thoughts had crossed your mind, leaving Rabwah, Huzoor?” Our beloved master, in his humility, replied in a low tone:
“There was so much to be done before my departure that I did not have much else on my mind. However, I had said to my wife that on the seventh day after the Election, I would seek permission from the new Khalifa to return. I was also mentally prepared that the new Khalifatul Masih might not assign me the same responsibility I had. But I pledged to myself that whatever responsibilities were assigned to me, I would perform them wholeheartedly and then return.”
I thought that this was it. But my master probably sensed my curiosity.
“Is that it? What else did you want to hear?”
He said this with great affection; the affection that produces valour. I asked, “Your life must have drastically changed after becoming Khalifa. How does it feel?” The reply was simple but enlightening.
“That moment was a ‘U-turn’ in my life. What I had left behind, remained there and where I am heading to is, by Allah’s will, in constant motion. I was a free man, fond of sowing seeds and harvesting crops – a simple farmer. Then I was appointed as Nazir-e-Ala, and from then on, I had to perform administrative responsibilities. Then, Allah entrusted me with this responsibility.”
As I walked out of Huzoor’saa office, I was spellbound. Before my very eyes were the crops that had yielded out of the seeds sown by this great Khalifa, which he continues to sow. May Allah keep these crops forever waving with the winds of His Mercy, and may the farmer of these crops live long. Amin.