A prophet in the making

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A look at the early life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – Part II

In Part I, we showed how Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be upon him, was a spiritually charged youth who had an astounding passion to defend Islam. Though he desired not to work, his father, out of sympathy, sent him to Sialkot Punjab to work at a court. Even in Sialkot the young Ahmadas would continue his deep study of the Holy Quran and profusely worshiped God Almighty. At the same time, he made use of his time to sit with holy men and enjoy discussions about Islam; especially with Christian missionaries.

Ataul Fatir Tahir and Tariq Hayat, Al Hakam

Defending Islam in British India: “Define salvation”

As the British Empire ruled India at the time and the mutiny of 1857 had transpired, the British Government saw Christianity as a means of cementing their rule throughout India. Christian missions and missionaries began sprouting across India and Sialkot was a hotbed for Christianity in the Punjab; the Scotch Mission being established in the city.

Historical evidence proves how Christian missionaries had planned to convert India to Christianity. Muslims were left helpless and speechless in front of Christian missionaries who would ask who was greater? Our prophet [Jesus] who is in the sky, or your prophet Muhammad, who is buried? Such devious questions would corner Muslims and they had no solace to turn towards.

The young Ahmadas could not bear the attacks from Christian missionaries on Islam and as God had given him spiritual and academic insight from a very young age, he was able to leave the missionaries themselves, speechless.

One such example was narrated by Syed Mir Hassan Sahib (a very famous Muslim scholar) who closely observed the Promised Messiahas as a young adult in Sialkot. In Life of Ahmadas, the narration is described in the following words:

The Promised Messiah’sas residence in Sialkot

“At Sialkot, Ahmadas came in touch with Christian missionaries. He held several debates with them. Elisha, a native Christian missionary, who lived to the south of Hajipura, once had a discussion with Ahmadas. He asserted that salvation was impossible outside the fold of Christianity. Ahmadas asked him to define the word ‘salvation’ and explain what he meant by it. The missionary failed to do so and concluded by saying that he had not studied logic.” (Life of Ahmad, A.R.Dard, p.48)

These conversations and debates would be frequent and Hazrat Ahmadas loved defending Islam and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This was a taste, for the Christian missionaries, of what this champion of Islam was to bring to the table; his future debates, discussion and books would strongly disprove the fallacy of Pauline Christianity.

A prominent Christian missionary’s admiration and research by ARC

History has it that a Christian missionary of the Scotch Mission in Sialkot, by the name “Butler” would converse with Ahmadas and hugely admired him.

After Jamaat scholars from Pakistan flagged the possibility of the name “Butler” to have been misread, The Ahmadiyya Archive and Research Centre (ARC), after searching through the Scotch Mission’s historical records, corrected the human error of naming this missionary as “Butler”.

The name was actually “Taylor” but due to Urdu transcript, it seemed to have read as “Butler”.

Reverend Taylor had frequent debates and discussions with Hazrat Ahmadas and quickly became an admirer. Reverend Taylor was no ordinary missionary, rather he was very prominent and well respected amongst the Scotch Mission in Sialkot.

Despite this, he would often go meet Hazrat Ahmadas towards the end of working hours and walk with him from the court to Hazrat Ahmad’sas small room. Throughout, he would remain engaged in discussion and listen to Hazrat Ahmad’sas  arguments with almost spell-bound attention. (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. I, pp.92-93)

In fact, other missionaries would tell Reverend Taylor not to spend so much time with him as it looked bad on their reputation and the mission’s. In response, Mr Taylor would say “this is a great man, you do not know his worth but I do.” (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. I, pp.93)

One discussion between Reverend Taylor and the Promised Messiahas was:

“Once he [Rev. Taylor] asserted that Jesusas was born of a virgin so that he might inherit no sin from Adamas. Ahmadas pointed out that Maryas had already inherited the sin, if there was any, and moreover, that as it was Eve who caused Adam’sas expulsion from paradise, Jesusas should have been born without a mother also in order to be sinless according to Christian beliefs. The missionary had no reply to this.” (Life of Ahmad, A.R.Dard, p.49)

Reverend Taylor liked Hazrat Ahmadas very much and always spoke to him with courtesy, reverence and respect. (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, p.141)

Before returning to Great Britain, Reverend Taylor went to the court Hazrat Ahmadas was working at, for one last farewell. When he arrived at the court, the Deputy Commissioner asked Reverend Taylor as to what had brought him there, in reply he said I have come to meet Mirza Sahib as I am about to return to my country and want to meet him one last time.

Therefore, he met the Promised Messiahas who was sitting on the floor and sat down next to him and after meeting one last time, bade him farewell. (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1 pp.141-142)

The Promised Messiah’sas manner of argumentation, from the onset, was extremely powerful yet eloquent, respectful and convincing. Another admirer was Mirza Murad Baig of Jullundur, the editor of the newspaper Wazir-e-Hind. He would often go meet Hazrat Ahmadas to hear his convincing arguments and would put before Ahmadas “objections raised by Christians against Islam”. Having learnt the answers, he would publish them in his own words through articles. Even when the Promised Messiahsa returned to Qadian, Mirza Baig would often visit to meet him. (Life of Ahmad, A.R.Dard, p.49)

Divine protection

The Holy Quran proves how Allah protects his prophets even from a young age; Prophet Abrahamas, as a youth, was protected from the fire, Prophet Josephas was saved as a child despite being thrown into a well, Prophet Mosesas was saved from the river by the most powerful man of the time and of course, the greatest Prophet, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa was steered out of danger by God throughout childhood, even though he was a vulnerable orphan.

Allah’s treatment of Hazrat Ahmadas was no different, at every possible danger, not just after his claim, but during his childhood as well, Allah protected him and those around him from physical harm.

A famous and widely related incident was when Hazrat Ahmadas was sleeping in a room. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra narrated that Hazrat Amma Janra (the Promised Messiah’sas noble and respected wife) heard the incident herself from the Promised Messiahas, who said:

“Once during a journey, we spent the night at a house and slept on the second floor. There were about seven to eight other men in the room. When everyone went to sleep and some time had passed, I began to hear some creaking noises and I feared that the ceiling would collapse. I called at Mesta Baig who was next to me and told him that I feared the ceiling is about to collapse, in response he said that I was just overthinking as the property was newly built and had a new roof.”

The Promised Messiahas rested again but “after a short while the same fear encompassed me, and I raised this to my acquaintance again, but he gave a similar reply. I then, again, laid down but the same thought took over my heart with great intensity and I felt as if the beam was about to break.

“I sat up again from the worry and this time firmly said to my friend why he was not getting up when I was saying the roof is about to fall. At this he was compelled to get up and we awoke the others and I told everyone to immediately go downstairs and leave. The stairs were right next to the door, I stood under the door and everyone began to leave one by one.”

When everyone had evacuated, the Promised Messiahas would narrate that “then I took a step outside the door and my foot was probably half outside and half in the doorway when suddenly the whole roof collapsed. It fell with such force that the [ground floor] roof also collapsed and we saw that the charpays [beds] we were sleeping on were crushed to pieces.” (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. I, pp. 6-7)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra would narrate that during this incident there were some Hindus present in that room as well who were admirers of the Promised Miessiahas. Further, he said that the Promised Messiahsa when narrating the incident would note how the roof was just “waiting for me to leave”. (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. I, p.7)

While in Sialkot, God Almighty continued to protect this young adult in the most miraculous manner. The Promised Messiahas narrated that when he was residing in Sialkot, “one night it began to rain and the room I was sat inside was struck by lightning and the whole room went up in smoke, it began to smell like gunpowder, however we were not harmed at all.” (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, p.216)

At other times, Hazrat Ahmadas explained “once a dead scorpion was found wrapped in my bedding and at another instance a live scorpion crawling around was caught inside the bedding. At both instances God protected me from harm. Once my clothes caught fire and I was completely unaware, another man saw it and told me and put the fire out.”

These two instances were not necessarily from Sialkot but were written in the diary of the Promised Messiahas. (Seerat-ul Mahdi, Vol. I, p.217)

A call from his beloved father

As detailed in Part I of “A Prophet in the making”, Hazrat Ahmadas did not share his father’s desire for his son to go and work and achieve a respectable (worldly) career. He hugely respected his father and went to Sialkot in obedience, but he was clear in his views of serving God and Islam to his father.

In 1868, his father finally sent a message to Hazrat Ahmadas and called him back to Qadian. The Promised Messiahas explained the reason in the following words:

“In the end, as my father found our distance [from each other] difficult, on his instruction, that was also my own desire, I resigned from this job that was against my own nature and became free of this burden. I then presented myself to my father…” (Kitab-ul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khazain, pp.184-185)

It is crucial to note the level of obedience the Promised Messiahas held towards his father even in his late twenties. Most adults see themselves as exclusively independent in life decisions from their parents. However, despite his deep aversion to work at the courts, the Promised Messiahas did not leave Sialkot until his father allowed him to.

This level of obedience towards parents shows how closely and carefully the Promised Messiahas, from a young age, followed the Holy Quran and its injunctions.

A mother’s longing to see her son

Sadly, when the instruction from his father to resign and return to Qadian was sent, Hazrat Ahmad’sas beloved mother had fallen critically ill. His mother had a close connection with him and was a shield throughout his life but now, during the years apart, she had fallen ill while her beloved son was returning home. Hayat-e-Tayiba notes that Hazrat Ahmad’sas mother, who was ill, most probably had asked her husband to call the young Ahmadas back home due to her deep longing to see her son. (Hayat-e-Tayiba, p.27)

During the journey back from Sialkot to Qadian, when Hazrat Ahmadas reached Amritsar, a man from Qadian had come to collect him.

“This man told the driver of the stagecoach to hurry back [to Qadian]. His [Hazrat Ahmad’sas] mother was in critical condition. The man, after some time said, ‘she was very weak, hurry, I hope she hasn’t passed away’. When Hazrat Ahmadas heard this, he was sure that his mother had passed away.” (Hayat-e-Tayiba, p.27)

When they reached Qadian, his estimation was proven correct; his dear mother had passed away and became the beloved of God.

“Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”

“Though he was deeply hurt by the demise of his beloved mother, he bore this huge grief with great patience.” (Ibid)

A son’s tears for his dear mother

Hazrat Ahmad’sas mother, Hazrat Chiragh Bibi, always took great care of her son’s needs and served him at every occasion. She had a special place in her heart for Hazrat Ahmadas  as she was witness to his righteousness, piety and purity. (Ibid)

The love that Hazrat Ahmadas had for his dear mother was apparent even aft er her demise. Whenever, after her demise, she would be mentioned, his eyes would swell up. One incident of this was described by Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira who narrated that “once the Promised Messiahas while taking a walk, went to an old family graveyard. Moving aside, with great emotion the Promised Messiahas moved towards the grave of his mother and, along with all those present, prayed for a long time and his eyes became full of tears.” (Ibid)

A youngster set to change the world

Hazrat Ahmad’sas father passed away not long after. Now, without the love of his parents in this world, the young Ahmadas sustained his service for Islam and continuously grew with The One, Who’s love is the truest; Allah the Almighty. The youth years of Hazrat Ahmadas prove how Allah had taken special care of this young adult who was destined to revive Islam and serve as the spiritual second coming of the Holy Prophetsa; a Prophet in the making.

We leave you with the words of Maulana Syed Mir Hassan Sahib, who later became a very well-respected scholar and closely observed the young Hazrat Ahmadas in Sialkot:

[While in tears] he said “It is with great regret that we took him for granted. I cannot explain his perfect spiritual attributes, his life was not of an ordinary person. Rather, he was from those who are the special elect of God and who scarcely come to the world.” (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. I, p.95)

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