Practises of the Promised Messiah a.s. in Ramadan – Part II

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The noble wife of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara related to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra that the Promised Messiahas used to say in respect to his youth:

“In that time, it occurred to me that fasting was also necessary to progress along this path … Then, I fasted for six consecutive months and nobody in the household or from outside had an inkling that I was keeping fast. When my morning meal used to arrive from the house, I would hand it to a needy person and eat the evening meal myself.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra enquired from Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara whether he also kept voluntary fasts in old age. She replied:

“In old age too he would keep fasts, chiefly the six fasts of Shawwal to which he would strictly adhere. Whenever he had to pray for a task of particular importance, he would fast, but in his final few years, he could not even fast in Ramadan due to weakness and frailty.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra added here, “The Promised Messiahas mentioned the period of his fasts to be eight to nine months in his book, Kitab-ul-Bariyya.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra also mentioned that Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara narrated to him:

“When the Promised Messiahas began having spells of vertigo, he did not fast during Ramadan that year and offered fidya. When the month of Ramadan came again, he began to fast but he had just kept eight or nine fasts when he experienced vertigo again. Hence, he left the rest and offered fidya. In the Ramadan thereafter, he had kept ten or eleven fasts when he was compelled to abandon fasting due to vertigo and he offered the fidya. In the following year during Ramadan, it was on his thirteenth fast that he experienced vertigo near Maghrib. He broke his fast, refrained from fasting for the rest of the month and offered the fidya.

“Afterwards, he kept all the fasts for every Ramadan which arrived, but a few years prior to his demise, he again was unable to keep fasts due to weakness and continued to offer fidya.” Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra enquired from Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara whether he offered the fasts at a later period, which he had left when he had his initial spells of vertigo. Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara replied, “No, he only offered fidya.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra went on to say:

“When the Promised Messiahas initially began having spells of vertigo and encountered cold extremities, he became extremely weak and his health would remain poor. Hence, when he would withdraw from fasting [in Ramadan], it would appear as if he could not gather the strength to offer them again at a later date till the upcoming Ramadan. However, when the forthcoming Ramadan would arrive, he used to begin to fast, springing out of a love for worship, but eventually, he would again have spells of vertigo. Thus, he would withdraw and offer the fidya. And Allah knows best.”

Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira narrated to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra that once, at the beginning of his era, a guest came to visit the Promised Messiahas in Qadian during the month of Ramadan. He was fasting at the time and a great portion of the day had passed. It was perhaps after the Asr prayer that the Promised Messiahas advised him to break his fast. He replied, “There merely remains a small portion of day left, so is there any point in breaking my fast now?” The Promised Messiahas said, “You desire to please God Almighty through dogged means. God Almighty cannot be pleased by tenacious deeds but through obedience. One should not fast when He has directed that travellers should not do as such.” Upon this, he broke his fast.

Hazrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahibra used to relate that once, in the era of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Hakim Fazluddin Bhervira observed etikaf [spending the last 10 days and nights of Ramadan in solitude] but during the etikaf, he had to head out to present himself for a court case. Thus, he broke his etikaf and departed from Qadian near the Asr prayer, upon which the Promised Messiahas smilingly said, “What need was there to sit for etikaf if you were bound to attend the court case?”

Hazrat Maulvi Sher Alira related to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra that Hazrat Pir Siraj-ul-Haq Sahibra was once fasting, but he requested for water from somebody as he had forgotten. Upon hearing this, someone remarked, “Are you not fasting?” Hazrat Pir Sahibra then recalled that he was in fact fasting. The Promised Messiahas was also present there at the time and said to Pir Sahibra, “When a person forgets that they are fasting and consumes something by mistake, it is God’s hospitality for that person. However, as you requested for water, and requesting for things is disliked, you were not able to experience this blessing.”

Hazrat Mir Muhammed Ismailra mentioned to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra:

“Once, some guests came from Lahore to Qadian in Ramadan. When the Promised Messiahas received news of their arrival, he attended the mosque in order to meet them, bringing along with him some breakfast. The gentlemen submitted that they were all fasting. The Promised Messiahas replied, ‘It is incorrect to fast in a journey. One should adhere to the leave granted by Allah Almighty.’ Thus, they were fed breakfast and their fasts were broken.”

Hazrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahibra narrated to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra that the Promised Messiahas once stated:

“It is also a bounty of God Almighty that he has raised me in such an age when the month of Ramadan occurs in the winter. Fasting does not cause much physical fatigue and I can easily carry out my responsibilities in the month of Ramadan.”

Hazrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahibra said that in those days, Ramadan had occurred in December. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra says:

“I have studied the calendar of that time period. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas   claimed to be the Messiah in 1891 and in the same year, Ramadan commenced on 11 April. In other words, this was the beginning of the time span when Ramadan would occur within winter. Thus, in 1892, Ramadan commenced on 31 March and in 1893, on 20 March. Afterwards, the month of Ramadan would occur each year through the days of winter, to a greater degree. In 1908, when the Promised Messiahas passed away, Ramadan began on 1 October. In this manner, the total period of the Promised Messiah’sas advent elapsed in such circumstances where the fasts of Ramadan would continuously take place in winter. And this was a blessing of God Almighty which transpired under divine decree and which led the Promised Messiahas to carefully observe this blessing and develop sentiments of gratitude, understanding it to be a bounty of God.”

Hazrat Mir Muhammed Ismailra related to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra that the Promised Messiahas was once fasting during Ramadan in Ludhiana when he felt nauseous and began encountering cold extremities. At that particular time, the time for sunset was nigh, but he immediately broke the fast. Hazrat Mir Sahibra said that Hazrat Ahmadas would always opt for the easy lawful path which the Shariah would afford.

With regard to this, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra said:

“In the Hadith, regarding the Holy Prophetsa, through the narration of Hazrat Aishara, there is mention that he always used to prefer the easier of two permissible paths.”

Hazrat Sheikh Karam Ilahi Patialvira narrated to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra in writing:

“Once, I came to spend the month of Ramadan, which had arrived at an intensely cold period, in Qadian. In those days, Hazrat Hakim Fazluddinra was the administrator of the library of the Promised Messiahas and therefore responsible for it. The room where the library was situated was adjacent to Masjid Mubarak and Hazrat Hakim Sahibra lodged in the very same place. Upon my arrival, he also granted me permission to temporarily reside in the same room. Offering gratitude, I set up my bed at a corner and began passing time with great ease and enjoyment. The Promised Messiahas used to walk to the mosque, passing by this room for every prayer. At one occasion, the doors opened at the time for sehri [pre-dawn meal for fasting]. I was sat directly in front and stood out of respect when I saw that the Promised Messiahas was stood at the door. Huzooras called me towards him through a gesture. When I advanced, I observed that there were two china bowls in the hands of the Promised Messiahas, which had kheer [rice pudding] in them. Handing me both bowls, Huzooras said to me, ‘Deliver these to those people whose names are written on it.’ I handed them to Hakim Sahib. Hakim Sahib called a person from the mosque and had the bowls delivered to those people whose names were inscribed in ink. Thereafter, the doors opened again. The Promised Messiahas handed us two bowls again and those were also delivered to those people, in accordance with their names. In this manner, the Promised Messiahas continued to bring bowls of kheer on ten or eleven occasions and we would deliver them to the people in the guest room. Finally, upon one of the two bowls which the Promised Messiahas handed was the name of Hakim Sahib and upon the second was my name, inscribed. After consuming the kheer, Hakim Sahib remarked, “Today, manna and salwa [divine bounties] have descended upon us.”

(Taken from the compilation of narrations related to the life of the Promised Messiahas, Sirat-ul-Mahdi, compiled by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra. Translated by Fateh Alam, London.)

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