Coming from every distant track: Mirza Saleem Baig of Hyderabad visits Qadian, 1940


A series looking at the high standard of morals of the Promised Messiahas, his Khulafa and the hospitality of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community when receiving visitors

Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam
Old photo of Qadian | Image: Library

Hazrat Sheikh Mahmud Ahmad Irfanira Sahib, the son of Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, was blessed with the opportunity to serve in various capacities for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. He excelled in journalism, authored books, engaged in other intellectual endeavours, and successfully undertook missionary efforts in Arabian lands.

As the circle of acquaintances and close friends of Irfani Sahib was extensive and diverse, he continued spreading the beautiful image of the Ahmadiyya community to righteous souls.

An example of this can be observed through the presence of the honoured guest Mirza Saleem Baig from Hyderabad, who was fortunate to visit Qadian during the blessed era of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra.

This esteemed guest, Mirza Salim Baig, a senior officer of the High Court of Hyderabad, Deccan, writes, mentioning his meetings with Hazrat Sheikh Mahmud Ahmad Irfani during his visit to the Levant and Egypt. He recounts:

“The impact of these meetings in Syria and Egypt was such that I had the opportunity to visit the central headquarters of the Ahmadiyya community in Qadian. In December 1940, I reached Qadian, Darul-Salam, which is nearly 50 miles away from Amritsar. Although accessible by rail, changing trains at two or three places is necessary. Qadian is a village where, along with the rise of the Ahmadiyya community, the region is also experiencing growth. Roads have been constructed, houses have been built, and gardens and playing fields are being prepared. A hospital, schools, and boarding houses are ready, where teachers from the community are dedicated to educating and nurturing the talented children of their community.

“The Ahmadiyya community covers the expenses of the hospital. It is well-organized and equipped with modern instruments and medicines. The boarding house is a spacious and splendid structure, constructed with grand architectural designs in a prominent location. It is connected to the school, and nearby is a vast field where other essential meetings and annual gatherings of the community take place.

“I have observed that the preparations for the annual gathering [Jalsa Salana] were on a very large scale in that field. The efforts of the members in providing accommodations, meals, and necessary supplies for the guests were commendable and worthy of emulation. The distribution of responsibilities, which is a prominent virtue of this community, was carried out with speed and sincerity. Despite not being able to stay until the end of the annual gathering, I witnessed the dedication and sincerity of their organisation and arrangements and became an admirer of their civic-mindedness and devotion.

“I saw the care and orderly arrangement of the cemetery, Bahishti Maqbarah, Qadian, for the first time in my life. Without any ornate embellishments or distinctions of rank, the graves are aligned in a single row. Each grave is marked with a simple headstone inscribed with a brief history of the deceased, the date of their demise, and the registration number of their will. Each grave has this headstone, and there is a reasonable distance between each grave.

“A path is left for each row [of the graves] for people to walk to, and where possible, the cemetery is adorned with shady trees, making it pleasant.

“I found that many people in Qadian have chosen to settle here after leaving their homelands. Additionally, there is a specific Jamaat office that provides loans to its members for constructing houses and collects the amount back in instalments from them.

“The members of this community dedicate their properties to the community as endowments, and their management is overseen by a special department. The treasury, the arbitration, religious affairs, publication, and organising departments, and the department for endowments and religious dues are established. Each department has its own staff and administrators, all under the supervision of Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud, the Second Khalifa, who personally oversees their services.

“During the time when I had the opportunity to visit Qadian, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih (the Caliph) was engrossed in writing the exegesis (tafsir) of the Quran. This exegesis, titled ‘Tafsir-e-Kabir,’ was published in Qadian through tireless efforts and with the gracious support of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. I am immensely grateful that I also received a volume of this ‘Tafsir-e-Kabir’ during my stay in Hyderabad. I am truly thankful, and may Allah bless Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’s work and grant us the ability to comprehend the divine commandments of the Holy Quran. Ameen. (Markaz Ahmadiyyat: Qadian, Mahmud Irfani, pp. 462 – 463)

One reason for the fame of this guest, Mirza Salim Baig Sahib, was his passion for travelling to various Islamic countries. Apart from that, this esteemed guest was also skilled in a particular art, which allowed him to identify people based on their handwriting. He had expertise in deciphering handwritten scripts and could assist people in resolving any uncertainties related to legal, judicial, and financial documents. If anyone had doubts about paperwork or legal matters, they would seek his assistance to clarify their concerns and resolve the issues.

In addition to mentioning the esteemed guest’s travels, the upcoming statement provides further information that sheds light on the missionary efforts of the Ahmadiyya community. Mirza Salim Baig is reported to have said:

“In 1924, I had the opportunity to visit Cairo, Egypt, for the first time. I stayed in Cairo while my travelling companions continued their journey to Europe after two days. Approximately a week later, I had the honour of meeting Mahmood Ahmad Sahib Irfani in Cairo. Our shared nationality and some other mutual acquaintances united us in such a way that I started spending most of my time with Mahmood Ahmad Sahib Irfani. He was a missionary of the Ahmadiyya community in Cairo and was diligently carrying out his mission among the Egyptians. Despite being a foreigner, he managed to create a positive impression among the Egyptian dignitaries and held gatherings with renowned and responsible personalities. Thanks to him, I had ample opportunities to explore Cairo and its way of life. Moreover, I kept witnessing the efforts of his mission, for which he was dedicated as a missionary.

“Under Mahmood Ahmad Sahib Irfani’s leadership, I also observed the missionary endeavours of the Ahmadiyya community in Palestine and Syria (Sham).

“In 1930, I had the opportunity to visit Cairo once again, and I was fortunate to find Hazrat Irfani Sahib present there. His mission was exceptionally successful, and this meeting became a renewal of unity for me. It provided me with numerous occasions to delve into the implementation of the mission, its establishment, the sincerity of the missionaries, and the impact of their efforts. I travelled to various places, such as Palestine, Syria, Istanbul, and Berlin, where I witnessed the organisation and endeavours of the Ahmadiyya community and was truly impressed by their dedication.

“I sincerely admit that everywhere I went, I observed the efforts of the Ahmadiyya missionaries, their adherence to Islamic traditions, and their commitment to the community. The most significant virtue of the Ahmadiyya community is their unity in action and adherence to the commands of their Imam. Its members never overlook the motto of Islam or the principles of Islam under any circumstances and are not unaware of their primary duties and responsibilities. Their perspective is evident in their speeches, writings, and interactions, where they subtly indicate and fulfil their tasks with dedication. They endure hardships, leave a positive impression on non-Muslims, and hold their responsibilities as preachers with distinction.

“In 1930, Mahmood Ahmad Sahib Irfani published a newspaper called ‘Islami Dunya’ (Islamic World) from Cairo in the Urdu language. This newspaper contained both text and images, and it was used to disseminate Islamic news with a comprehensive and detailed approach in Urdu. Unfortunately, unavoidable circumstances led to the discontinuation of its publication, and the newspaper ceased to exist.

“It is regrettable that ‘Islami Dunya’ could not continue its publication due to certain compelling reasons. Nonetheless, during its circulation, it also featured a section on my travels.” (Markaz Ahmadiyat: Qadian, Hazrat Sheikh Mahmud Ahmad Irfanira, pp. 461-462)

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