A series looking at the high standard of morals of the Promised Messiahas and his Khulafa when receiving visitors in Qadian
Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam
Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra, also known as Nawab Fateh Nawaz Jang, was a barrister and former chief justice and home secretary at Hyderabad Deccan. He is buried in Lucknow. He was a trustee of the Aligarh Muslim University, a renowned academic institution of the Indian subcontinent and an eminent and distinguished member of the All-India Muhammadan Educational Conference.
Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra arrived in Qadian on 26 December 1900. Since he had gained academic recognition in his respectable field, it was not possible for him to reach Qadian without enduring the hardships of his journey. His travel to Qadian indicates his sincerity and the level of attraction Qadian had for him. This was also a sign of the great prophecy:
ياتون من كل فج عميق
“Coming from every distant track.”
The Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas expressed his happiness at his arrival and said:
“There is great reward for every step that is taken for seeking the truth, but the world of reward is hidden and cannot be witnessed by the eyes of a worldly person. […] Enduring hardships in the way of God and being fully prepared to endure misfortunes and difficulties [in His way] is possible through faith. Faith is a force that gives a person true courage and fortitude. An example of this can be seen in the life of the Companions [of the Holy Prophetsa], may Allah be pleased with them all.”
Then Hazrat Ahmadas presented an example that explained the strength of faith of the Companionsra and made it clear that progress was not in adopting the European way of life blindly, but in fact in following the Holy Quran.
After this, the Promised Messiahas, addressing Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra, said:
“That Allah the Almighty granted you the opportunity to travel so far and endure the difficulty of this journey, had it not been for the staunch faith [you possess], I do not think you would have taken up [this journey and endured] so much.
“May Allah reward you and increase this faith [you have] so that you may be bestowed the sight to recognise the light which Allah the Almighty has sent down to the world, by His grace, in this age.
“Sometimes a person has a condition where they visit a place and then leave quickly; but after leaving, the soul becomes disturbed as to why they left [so quickly]. Our friends visit and leave early due to some obligations; however, they later regret as to why they had left so fast.”
On this occasion, Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra said:
“The same will surely happen to me. And if I had not sent a telegram to Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk Sahib [a well-known Indian Muslim politician at the time] and other friends, I would have stayed longer.”
The Promised Messiahas accepted his apology and said:
“In any case, I do not want you to break your promise. As you have already informed them, you must go.”
Regarding the participation of Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra in the Jalsa Salana of 1900, on its front page of the 31 January 1901 issue, Al Hakam wrote that Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra was in Qadian for Jalsa Salana.
Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra had studied Arabic. His interest in visiting Hazrat Ahmadas arose when he read about the bishop of Lahore in the newspaper, The Pioneer, and read about Huzoor’sas engagements with him. It was at this moment that Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra realised Hazrat Ahmadas was no ordinary person as he engaged with the bishop of Lahore.
After this, he had the chance to read about the Promised Messiahas and then corresponded with Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira and with the Promised Messiahas himself. When Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra met Hazrat Dr Khalifa Rashiduddinra, his good manners left a deep impression on him. He continued to read and study Al Hakam.
Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra was making his way to attend an educational conference at Aligarh University which was organised by the All-India Muhammadan Educational Conference. This was an organisation that promoted modern and liberal education for the Muslims of India.
On his way, difficulties arose due to rainfall. Thus, in sight of the circumstances, he gave priority to journeying towards Qadian.
After listening to the Promised Messiah’sas address of 26 December 1900, no doubts with regard to the truthfulness of Ahmadiyyat remained in his heart.
In Qadian, Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra also met Hazrat Syed Abdullah Baghdadira. Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra was very happy to hear that Hazrat Syed Abdullah Baghdadira had abandoned the Shia order and accepted Ahmadiyyat.
Hazrat Syed Abdullah Baghdadira asked Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra what he thought of Hazrat Ahmadas. Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra, replying in Arabic, said, “He is like a prophet, and his words are like the prophets, and he is undoubtedly truthful.”
Since he had to attend the conference, he left Qadian early. His yearning to someday return to Qadian grew, as he remained looking for opportunities to visit; however, unfortunately, this desire was left unfulfilled and he could not visit Qadian again in his lifetime.
After returning from Qadian, the intention and devotion of Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra had increased a lot. He formally participated in some of the needs of Qadian. For example, the 7 August 1903 issue of Al Badr newspaper shows that in the very early days of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, the expenses of Madrasa Talim-ul-Islam were barely being met. Even the salaries of the teachers appointed there were difficult to pay; and then, when Talim-ul-Islam College was established along with the Madrasa Talim-ul-Islam, the worries of expenses of the college became even more daunting.
Therefore, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra appealed to Ahmadis of each city to set aside some money to help for the scholarships of students of madrasas and colleges.
Whilst mentioning three people who made generous contributions, he wrote that Nawab Fateh Nawaz Jang (Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra) had contributed towards this noble cause by sending funds on a monthly basis.
It is found in the pages of history that he was very fond of the Jamaat’s newspaper, Al Hakam, and also enjoyed reading the commentary of the Holy Quran. He would praise and talk about Al Hakam among respected and influential people. In short, he became active in the service of religion in Lucknow.
Before he passed away, he was able to do a great noble deed for his country.
When the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference was announced in 1904, it was met with fierce opposition in Lucknow and, according to the late Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, it was not surprising that the lamp of the conference would die out. This opposition was not insignificant, and it was not easy to suppress because it was started by a group that was considered sacred by the people and whose rule was called “divine”. Shia leaders and Ulama-e-Farangi Mahal, who were considered to be the imams of the Sunnis, both merged and issued fatwas of apostasy and disbelief on the participants of the conference. They distributed announcements, held meetings and said in their speeches that the participants of this conference would be deprived of their Islamic rights, and no one would offer their funeral prayers after their death. Hazrat Nawab Sahibra was at the forefront among the elders who were credited for the reconciliation of Muslim sects and the success of the conference.
Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra passed away on 13 January 1904, shortly after the aforementioned conference. On his demise, the famous Allahabad newspaper, The Pioneer, wrote that the demise of Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra was a matter of great sadness. He had only been sick for three weeks. He was diagnosed with high levels of toxins in his blood. He served in Hyderabad with great excellence and became the first chief justice for which he was very suitable in terms of his English language skills and legal knowledge.
Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra was a learned scholar and a man of great insight. Some of his works are listed below:
1. Murqqa Ibrat: This is the autobiography of Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra
2. Salana Judicial Report 1885: This was a judicial report that was first compiled when he was in the court of trustees and public affairs
3. Hindustani Zindagi
4. Gulgasht Farang: A few pages of his personal diary while in Europe
Also, in the fifth volume of Maktubat-e-Ahmad (pp. 316-323) there are three letters copied from Al Hakam that were sent by Hazrat Ahmadas to Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra. At the beginning of these, Huzooras wrote:
محبی مكرمی عزيزی اخويم
(My beloved, respectable, dear brother).
These words are enough to appreciate the high position Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra occupied.
(In preparation of the above material, detailed information on Hazrat Syed Maulvi Mahdi Hassanra, found in the 15 February 2007 issue of Al Fazl, was utilised.)