The Review of Religions [English], March, April & May, 1922
Syed Ahmad Nur, the eyewitness
The coming of the blessed martyr of Kabul to Qadian
The blessed “Martyr of Kabul” came to Qadian with some of his companions who were Maulvi Abdus Sattar, Maulvi Abdul Jalil, and the Waziri Maulvi. I had been away at home at the time and it was there that I learnt that the martyr of blessed memory had gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca. My home was at the distance of about 30 miles to the north of Saidgah, the residence of the blessed “Martyr of Kabul”. No sooner did I hear of it than I started for Qadian, because I was aware that he would naturally stop at Qadian and therefore I reached the place some 10 days after the “Martyr of Kabul” had been there. When I overtook the blessed martyr at Qadian, he become exceedingly happy and took me to the Promised Messiah[as] for the purpose of Baiat, the initiation. When we saw the Promised Messiah[as] he told us to wait for a few days more. On this, the “Martyr of Kabul” told the Promised Messiah[as] that there was no need of waiting in the case of Ahmad Nur and that his Baiat may be accepted. Therefore, the Promised Messiah[as] took me into his Baiat at that very time.
The “Martyr of Kabul” stopped at Qadian for a few months. We used to accompany the Promised Messiah[as] in his daily outdoor walks. On our return, the blessed martyr would not dust his clothes but would wait till he thought that the Promised Messiah[as] had had his clothes dusted. The blessed martyr would often say that the Promised Messiah[as] had come in the garb of Mohamed the Prophet, may peace and the blessing of God be upon them both, and he who made any distinction between the Promised Messiah[as] and Mohamed[sa] the Prophet, did not recognise the Promised Messiah[as] in the right sense.
The blessed “Martyr of Kabul” received many revelations. One day we were sleeping in the guest house. The martyr, all of a sudden, got up and said that Mohamed the Prophet, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, had spread over him and covered him like a sheet and he became so much merged that he could not be separated from him and the following revelation was received which may thus be rendered. “His body is bright, old and scented and glitters like the hidden pearl. Light upon light.” And he also said that this light was in his power. Accordingly, one day the martyr asked Maulvi Abdus Sattar to look at his face and he turned towards him. Maulvi Abdus Sattar tried to look in his face, but he could not do so and so he had to take off his eyes – and when the “Martyr of Kabul” stood erect, then Maulvi Sahib Abdus Sattar looked up and abruptly said, “God be blessed and blessed be God.” The Maulvi Sahib of Waziris asked Maulvi Abdus Sattar what he had seen. Maulvi Abdus Sattar smiled and said that he had seen much and also said that when he had looked at his face, it was glittering like the Sun and therefore his eyes were dazzled and so he had to cast down his looks and when the martyr raised up his head, he was then able to see. The “Martyr of Kabul” told the Maulvi of Waziris that as he was deficient in Taqwa (piety) therefore he could not see anything.
To the blessed “Martyr of Kabul” were revealed many curious things. One day while going to the بہشتى مقبرہ i.e., “Celestial Cemetery,” he called on his companions that they were left behind and that they should try to come up with him because his condition at that time had grown so delicate that it was very difficult to describe it and that the blessings and the light of the Prophet were in his power and then he called upon Maulvi Abdus Sattar to look in his face for a moment. Maulvi Abdus Sattar says that he could look at the Sun which is so high in the heavens but he could not look at the forehead of the blessed martyr because it was shedding such a lustre that its rays far exceeded in brightness [than] the rays of the Sun.
The blessed “Martyr of Kabul” lived at Qadian for nearly three months. Whenever the Promised Messiah[as] used to go, the blessed “Martyr of Kabul” was always in his company, and the Promised Messiah[as] loved him exceedingly. Once the Promised Messiah[as] was going out for a walk and the blessed “Martyr of Kabul” and some other persons were accompanying him. When the Promised Messiah[as] came back, the “Martyr of Kabul” came to his residence and addressed us as follows:
“Today, a very curious thing happened when I was accompanying the Promised Messiah[as] on the walk. A hourie from Paradise came before me in a beautiful dress and asked me to look at her, but I told her that as long as the Promised Messiah[as] was with me I could not leave him and look at her, and therefore she went away crying.”
Once upon a time, we all went out with the Promised Messiah[as] for a walk. When we came back, the blessed “Martyr of Kabul” asked me whether I had seen my father. I replied that I had not seen him. The “Martyr of Kabul” said that he was walking along with you and behind the Promised Messiah[as]. But my father had been dead for a good many years. The blessed martyr used to eat very little and often he would say that he heard the noise of the hell, and if we wanted to hear of it, we should also eat very little.
Once Ajab Khan, Tehsildar, resident of Zaida, came to Qadian and stopped with us. Afterwards, he secured permission of the Promised Messiah[as] to go home, and came to the blessed Martyr and told him that he had secured the permission of the Promised Messiah[as], but he had not secured the permission of Maulvi Nur Din. The blessed martyr pressed upon Ajab Khan to secure the permission of Maulvi Nur Din also, because he was to become the first Khalifa after the Promised Messiah[as]. Accordingly, when the blessed martyr wished to return home, he read 2 or 3 pages of Bukhari Sharif with Maulvi Nur Din and said that he had done this so that he may also be counted as one of the disciples of Maulvi Nur Din who was to be the first Khalifa after the Promised Messiah[as].
The blessed “Martyr of Kabul” had come on six months’ leave. When the time of departure drew near, he asked for leave from the Promised Messiah[as] to go home. The Promised Messiah[as] asked him to stay on till the time of next pilgrimage which he should start for from Qadian, rather than go home and then return back. The blessed martyr replied that he should get back and return again the next year for the pilgrimage.
When the “Martyr of Kabul” left Qadian for Afghanistan, the Promised Messiah[as] and his followers went with him for a good mile and a half to bid him good-bye. When the time of departure drew near, the “Martyr of Kabul” fell in dust at the feet of the Promised Messiah[as] and with both his hands he took hold of the latter’s feet and asked the Promised Messiah[as] to pray for him. The Promised Messiah[as] said that he was going to pray for him so he should let go of his feet. But the martyr would not leave off the feet of Messiah whereupon the former said: “الامر فوق الادب”, that is, obedience stood superior to all respectful behaviour, whereat he let go the Promised Messiah’s feet, who then bid him goodbye.
I and Maulvi Abdus Satar and a few other disciples of the “Martyr of Kabul” went along with the martyr to Lahore and stopped in a mosque near the old house of Mian Chiragh-ud-din Sahib for 3 or 4 days. We had stopped there to purchase a few books and get them bound. There in Lahore were the houses of many friends, but the martyr stopped in a mosque as he liked seclusion.
One night the followers of Chakralwi came to him and asked him about the Promised Messiah[as]. The “Martyr of Kabul” told them that the Promised Messiah[as] was the Ahmad of last days. The followers of Chakralwi said that the Promised Messiah[as] said that he was Ghulam Ahmad. The martyr of blessed memory told them not to say Ghulam Ahmad but only Ahmad, and remarked that if they will say he was Ghulam Ahmad, then according to the saying “سید القوم خادمھا” he will become Sayad and they by so saying will raise his rank even above the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, and therefore they should only say that the Promised Messiah[as] was Ahmad. Hearing this, the followers of Chakralwi kept silent. Then the followers of Chakralwi put forward their own teaching before him and asked the “Martyr of Kabul” what he said about the man teaching such ideas. The Martyr replied that if the person taught such ideas purposely, he was a Kafir, otherwise he was a mad man.
One day Mian Mairaj-ud-Din came and told the blessed martyr that the dinner was ready. When we all stood up, Mian Mairaj-ud-Din took us to a house where many persons were assembled together. On seeing the blessed martyr, the people rose and each one asked him to sit by his side, at which the blessed martyr grew angry and told Man Mairaj-nd-din that he was not an alms-eater and that it was not right for him to bring him here. Saying this, the blessed martyr came out of the house and I also followed him. There was no one with us to show us the way to the mosque. On this, the blessed martyr told me to walk in front. I without knowing the way to the mosque walked on and on and we both reached the mosque without any difficulty. When all the books were bound, we left Lahore for Kohat by the railway train.
On reaching there, we secured the services of a tumtum [transport vehicle] driver whom we paid one rupee in advance to take us to Bannu the next morning. When the day dawned, a government man came and impressed the tumtumwala [driver of tumtum] to do the driving for him. We did not know of it and when he did not appear in time, the blessed martyr sent me after him, I started in search of the man and at last found him. The man said that he could not accompany me as he was impressed by a government servant. I asked him to return the earnest money, but the man refused to pay it back to me. Meanwhile, the Tehsildar came upon the scene and I asked him to send the tumtum and the man with me as I had hired it before the government man took it or tell the man to return the advance money. The Tehsildar Sahib replied that he could not send the man and the tumtum as the government work required them urgently. I told the Tehsildar that I was also a man of government and then after some discussion, the earnest money was returned to me. As the haggling and protestation with the tumtumwala and the Tehsildar had taken me long, our men, being tired of waiting long, said to the blessed martyr that neither the tumtumwala returned nor their own man, meaning myself. Had I returned by that time, they would have been in a position to start and that it was very difficult to bring back the tumtumwala or get back the earnest money. On this, the blessed martyr told them that he had sent such a man after the tumtumwala that either he will bring back the man or realise from him the earnest money and that he was such a man that if he were made to stand before a mountain, he would clear the mountain asunder and pass through it to the other side. When the martyr said so, I appeared before them and then the blessed martyr called on them to see the truth of his assertion.
When we were travelling by the train to Kohat, the blessed martyr was reading the Quran. He told us that he was going to compete with the train in swiftness, and that the train was saying, that she was quicker in running while he (the Martyr) said that he was quicker than her in reciting the Quran. When the blessed martyr had uttered these words, the speed of the engine began suddenly to diminish. The driver tried his best to run it on, but the train at last stopped in the way and the people came out of it and cried out “The ass has stopped,” “The ass has stopped.” At last, we hired another tumtum for Bannu and started for that place. The martyr kept on reciting Quran in the tumtum, and when the time of the afternoon prayer came, the martyr read with us the prayer in falling rain. It was a torrential rain but the prayer was conducted by the martyr with composure and peace without any sign of a hurry. At night, we reached Khurram, a place 43 miles to the south of Kohat on the trunk road. At night, the martyr purchased a goat from the owner of the Sarai [an inn] and slaughtered it for us and we and the men of the Sarai all ate of it. At last, we reached Bannu and stopping there for a day or two we left for Khost. We reached Daur in a tumtum. The numberdar [headman of a village] of that place became exceedingly glad on our arrival and slaughtered a lamb for us and gave us a sumptuous dinner. In the morning, men from Khost rode down to us to receive us. The blessed martyr rode on a horse and we all walked on foot and reached Saidgah, the residence of the blessed martyr. On the way the blessed martyr used to tell us that he often received the revelation اذھب الى فرعون (“Go thou to Pharoah”). At that time, Habib Ullah Khan was the Amir of Kabul.
(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original published in The Review of Religions, March, April & May, 1922)