100 Years Ago… – Shuddhi Movement: Ahmadi missionaries’ departure to Agra


Faith-inspiring scene of Ahmadi missionaries departing to Agra to win the hearts of Malkana Rajputs back to Islam

Al Fazl, 2 April 1923

An old map of India
An old map of India

Under the guidance and instructions of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra, on 24 March 1923, Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s second delegation, consisting of 22 missionaries, left Qadian for Agra to stop the Apostasy Movement of the Malkana Rajputs. The details of their departure are given below. (Editor, Al Hakam)

At 10am on 24 March [1923], Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] received a telegram from Agra sent by the head of the Ahmadiyya Da‘wat-o-Tabligh Delegation, Qadian, that they were in urgent need of 20 more missionaries. Forthwith, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih sent a message to all the Ahmadis of Qadian that they should immediately gather at the Mubarak Mosque. This news spread like wildfire and reached every nook and cranny of Qadian, and in an instant, the Mubarak Mosque was full of Ahmadi members. Huzoor[ra] was informed that the devotees had gathered [in the mosque].

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih left the assembly of Majlis-e-Mushawarat [Consultative Body] and reached the Mubarak Mosque. All the members of the Majlis were with him. Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib[ra] MA had the necessary documents in his hands. The leader of Islam arrived and the whole mosque fell silent as if it were empty, and there were no people but statues sitting [in front of him].

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih stood in the mihrab [niche] of the mosque. After reciting tashahhudta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah,  Huzoor[ra] spoke on the subject of the sacrifice of wealth and time for religion. This address was a comprehensive explanation of Fardh [obligatory duty], Fardh-e-Kifayah [collective duty], and Nawafil [supererogatory]. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said, “To perfect your faith, it is necessary to perform nawafil. That rests solely on one’s own choice.” This whole speech has been published in one of the previous issues of Al Fazl, friends may have read it. In the end, Huzoor[ra] put forward the demand that Islam was in need of 20 devotees on whom the sun should set outside of Qadian.

The moment Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said something similar to the aforementioned words, an overwhelming emotional state fell on all those present. Their faces started shining with the zeal of service. Every young and old person wanted to be the first to go forward with this service. Each one of them desired that their name be accepted among the ones who presented themselves for this cause. From all sides, these voices began to rise: “Huzoor! I am ready, please send me”, “O Hazrat! Just give me the order,” “Hazrat! Please accept my request,” and “Master! Your servant is ready.” Huzoor[ra] said that the friends who were requesting should present their names. On this instruction, pieces of paper and pencils were searched for. Someone was taking out pages from a notebook and writing down their names, someone was writing their names on the corner of a book’s page, and others were bringing pieces of a paper bag and writing their names on it. If the pages were falling short, multiple names were being written on one piece of paper. Even after that, the passion was not subsiding, and pages and pens ran out. Lists were compiled on the margins of newspapers. The father was saying his son was ready to go and the elder brother was volunteering himself. At the same time, they were requesting, “Huzoor[ra], please send their brothers along with them.” Hazrat Khalifatul Masih replied that they should present their names themselves. They submitted that their brothers were busy with some work when they came, but they knew full well that they were ready to go. Huzoor[ra] reiterated, “Every single person should submit their own name.” The names were written down and the pieces of paper were handed over to Hazrat Imam[ra]. Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib[ra] was ordered to write down the names of those who were selected. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih spoke out the names and Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib[ra] wrote them down.

We published in the 26 March [1923] issue of Al Fazl under the heading, Madinat-ul-Masih, that there were 60 to 70 volunteers. However, now, upon counting, it has come to our knowledge that, before Asr prayer on that same day, a total of 119 friends had offered themselves.

Hence, the list of the selected individuals was compiled. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that he would first mention the names of those friends who presented their services. So, the names of all those associates were announced and then the names of those who were selected were announced. These 20 friends were selected apart from those two individuals whose names were already approved before the arrival of the telegram. One of them was Maulvi Chaudhary Muhammad Abdus Salam Khan Sahib of Kathgarh, an expert in Hindu literature, and the other was Maulvi Abdus Samad Sahib Patialvi, author of the book, Nehkalank Avatar. They submitted their names [in the mosque] as well, and along with the others, they were also ordered to prepare.

After that, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih prayed for those who were leaving. He also prayed for those who were determined to go and all those who were present, as well as for those who did not present their names for one reason or another, that Allah may grant them the strength to serve His religion and remove all kinds of impediments from their path. The prayer continued for a long time and then the assembly was dismissed. Those who were leaving were happy that they were going for the service of Islam, and those who submitted their names but were not selected this time, due to the fulfilment of the requirement or some other reason, were very sad. Consequently, this couplet came out of one’s mouth:

یارانِ تیز گام نے محمل کو جا لیا

ہم محو نالۂ جرس کارواں رہے

“The swift men managed to secure their positions on the camels’ saddles and we kept listening to the sound of the camels’ bells in their caravan.”

Though they were saddened by their misfortune that they did not get the opportunity to excel others, they were happy at the good fortune of their brothers that they were front runners who would lead the work. Hence, everyone was giving congratulations to those who were going. They were being embraced, and people were requesting to pray for them. Prayers were also being requested for those who could not go, so that they may soon be sent forward for the service of religion. The ones leaving were under the spell of the service of Islam. They were happily meeting their friends. They were overjoyed at their fortunate selection. Hence, it was in a state that cannot be described in words. Surely, the eyes witnessed this sight and its image was imprinted on the heart.

The voices of congratulations and greetings came to a halt. The selected ones went home to prepare and before 2pm, they began to gather under Masjid Mubarak. Among these people were those who usually had to hire porters when they travelled [due to the extensive items they carried with them]. However, on that day, their luggage was very precise. They only had bedsheets and blankets, and a few clothes, which were also packed with the bedclothes. Moreover, they had a few essential books and a small copy of the Holy Quran suspended around their neck. Meanwhile, the time for the Asr prayer came. Mubarak Mosque was full of worshippers and rows of salat formed on the upper portion as well. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih led the prayer. The square near the mosque was filled with the residents of Qadian who had come to see off the caravan. Consequently, the leader of Islam came out to see off his dear devotees and a wave was created in the sea of men. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih was at the forefront. There was such a fervour of devotion, love and sincerity that people were falling on each other [due to overcrowding]. Everyone was trying to stay as close to his master and Imam[ra] as possible. Huzoor[ra] was walking fast. Consequently, the followers also had to walk with him at a fast pace and at the same time, everyone was trying to get ahead of each other to listen to the blessed words of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. Due to the rush of people, the dust began to rise and a dust cloud formed in the sky. There is no doubt that it was hurting Huzoor[ra], but owing to his high moral standard, he did not even look with discomfort at those ardent followers so that they may not be disheartened.

In this manner, the almost two-mile journey came to an end. On the way, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih gave some advice and instructions. May Allah enable us to follow them.

When the car reached the well, a circle of people formed around it. The leader of Islam stood inside this circle. Friends were seated. Those leaving were called and seated inside the circle. The whole path to Qadian was full of white turbans, far and wide. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih waited for all the friends to gather. When the head of the delegation attended, it was found that two or three men were still catching up. They were called out in a loud voice and they also came forward and sat inside the circle. Time was running out and people were still coming to the car to say goodbye. Thus, Huzoor[ra] started his address with the praise of Allah and emphasised to express gratefulness to God Almighty. He explained that, “We are the ones who deserve to say Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah] as we have been granted the opportunity to serve His religion.” Then, he emphasised praying abundantly because, without the help of God, no work was blessed or beneficial and there was no surety of its success. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said, “You people are weak but connect with the Mighty God and get strength from Him.” He also expressed that, “Now, Arya newspapers have started a new mischief as a countermeasure. They are spreading [misinformation] that Ahmadis intend to riot everywhere. However, the world knows that Ahmadis are relatively small in number in every city. There are only a couple of cities where the number of Ahmadis is in the thousands. Otherwise, Punjab, which is the centre of the Ahmadi population, also has a comparatively small number of Ahmadis in most of its cities. As for the villages, they too have the same ratio. If counted, there would be only one or two villages which are completely populated with Ahmadi inhabitants. Then, there will be 20 to 30 villages in which half or more than half of their population comprise of Ahmadiyya Community. Otherwise, the number of Ahmadis in the villages is also relatively less than other communities. On the contrary, Hindus are in abundance all over [India]. Moreover, Hindus have superiority in terms of wealth and affluence, not only over Ahmadis, but over all the other Muslims as well.

“Secondly, what kind of character does the Ahmadiyya Jamaat possess? All friends and foes are well aware of it. Ahmadis are emphatically taught to avoid mischief and not to repay evil with evil.”

It is by the grace of God that members of the Jamaat follow this teaching to the letter. They respond to the hostilities of their opponents with kindness. They resort to polite and gentle words when they are stoned. They pray for their enemies in response to their abuses. This is the sole reason why the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is progressing in leaps and bounds and will continue to do so, insha-Allah. Thus, in accordance with the following verse of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih, he advised those who were leaving to face hardships with patience and not to retaliate against the cruel highhandedness:

پیار و آموختہ درس وفا خام نہ ہو

“Always keep in mind the teaching of kindness and sincerity, and never let it go in vain.”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said, “If you are subjected to beatings, do not raise your hands. You should listen to abuses and pray for them in return, as your success lies in this ordeal.” This part of Huzoor’s[ra] speech was very powerful and moving. […]

In the end, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said, “It is a custom that a gift is given to those who are departing. I wanted to give a gift as well. Consequently, our family members, (which include the two daughters of Ummul Momineen [Hazrat Aman Janra] and the Promised Messiahas, and the family of Hazrat Imam[ra], etc.), have presented 43 rupees. I am submitting this money to our brother Abdur Rahim Sahib to give sadaqah [charity] on behalf of our devoted brothers. He should give charity on the way and also spend on some charitable needs there.” On this, all the friends contributed something or the other to this charity. Each person placed their offerings in the hands of their Imam[ra]. Huzoor[ra] accepted them by saying “Jazak-Allah [May Allah grant you the best of rewards].” He then gave the offerings to the head of the delegation with his own hands. Someone gave cash, someone gave a handkerchief, someone gave a purse, someone gave clippers and others presented dates. An Ahmadi elder presented sweetmeat weighing around 3 to 4 ser [1 ser is equal to about 2 kilograms] as breakfast for the missionaries. The amount collected as charity was around 200 rupees. After that, Huzoor[ra] prayed for the delegation for a long time. The eyes were full of tears and the hearts in the bosoms were as if prostrating on the throne of God. Some friends, who could not go for some reason, were crying and weeping. After prayer, everyone seemed content and the honourable Imam[ra] blessed members of the delegation with a handshake. He came on the road to bid them farewell. Friends stood on the road in rows of two. The caravan stood away from the rows of friends, but right in front of the eyes of their Imam[ra]. It was ordered that the caravan go ahead. All members of the delegation said “As-salam-u ‘Alaikum” in a loud voice and left for the journey. The leader of God’s party kept looking at his devotees and praying. Friends returned to Qadian in the same manner as when they left to see off the caravan. That is, in four rows, which were converted to 2 while entering the town, alhamdulillah.

This is the Jamaat, which the world calls “kafir” [disbelievers] and dajjal [antichrist], God forbid. Is there a precedent where any other party goes ahead with such enthusiasm for the service of Islam and their imam encourages them with such passion to serve the religion? If there is any such example, please present it. One can find people who take money and work, but where will you find such people, each of whom is so devoted that they will not take a single rupee for themselves or their children? Rather, they commit to providing for their own needs and those of their families and they work in a manner that even a slave would not do. Does not this lead to the conclusion that this Jamaat is the Jamaat of the Truthful?

صَلَّى اللّٰہُ  عَلَیْہِ وَ عَلَى مُطَاعِہِ عَلَیْہِ السَّلَام

“Peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Holy Prophetsa and his obedient servant, Prophet Ahmadas.”

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