Coming from every distant track: Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Orinvi meets with Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud

Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam
1 Madrassah Ahmadiyya founded by HKMI

Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Orinvi, a distinguished writer hailing from Patna, was born in August 1912 in Bihar, India. He received his primary education in Urdu, Persian, and English from his father, Hazrat Syed Wazarat Hussainra. Professor Orinvi completed his matriculation in 1926, and during his undergraduate studies in 1934, he was awarded a gold medal in the English examination. He ranked first in his MA Urdu programme in 1936.

Two years later, in 1938, he began serving as an Urdu lecturer at Patna College. His dedication to education and research earned him a D.Litt. degree from Patna University in 1965. He held the position of president of the Urdu department at Patna University from 1952 until his demise in 1975.

When Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra initiated the Waqf-e-Zindagi scheme for the youth of the Jamaat, Professor Orinvi willingly presented himself for service. Being a lecturer at the time, he received guidance from Huzoorra to continue his current work with the profound words, “Allah has placed you at the gateway to hearts; persist in serving the faith.” Owing to his constant ill health, he was given this special permission to pursue his teaching career due to his special circumstances.

Throughout his life, Professor Orinvi demonstrated a fervent commitment to tabligh. He recalls that he did tabligh on different occasions to many dignitaries and political leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajagopalachari, Jayaprakash Narayan, Shri Krishna Sinha, etc. Despite battling chronic illness, he also maximised his contributions to Urdu literature. His prolific works spanned plays, novels, and numerous collections of fiction. Additionally, he regularly contributed editorials to national newspapers and produced several radio dramas and speeches that explored literary, social, and religious topics.

Upon being influenced by communism, Professor Orinvi visited Qadian and stayed there, seeking guidance from Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. He was profoundly impacted by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra charismatic personality, something he often referenced in his speeches and interviews. (Daily Al-Fazl, 20 August 2005, pp. 4-5)

He had some confusion about the economic system of Islam during his studies. He consulted various scholars to resolve them, and they also exchanged ideas, but his mind remained unsatisfied. Finally, seeking a solution to his problems, he approached Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra in October 1942. In a half-hour conversation, Huzoorra shed light on these problems in such an effective way that it satisfied Professor Sahib.

The details of this important meeting are presented below, which were taken from Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat and mentioned by the professor himself.

Professor Sahib’s journey: Seeking guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra

Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Sahib states that in October 1942, he left Patna for Qadian. He travelled through Delhi and arrived in Lahore. There, he stayed at a guest house. He stated that many important questions were creating anxiety in his mind. The complexes in his mind and the anxiety in his heart were related to economic problems. He added that he had studied the theories of socialism and capitalism concerning economic, industrial, and social organisation in the past years.

He continued to narrate that he stayed in the Lahore Ahmadiyya Hostel for a while, where he had the opportunity to meet some of the young members of the family of the Promised Messiahas. He expressed his intention to them, and they all showed interest in this topic and supported his decision to travel to Qadian and seek guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra.

Professor Sahib said that he shared his confusion with Hazrat Syed Mukhtar Ahmadra, Malik Ghulam Fareed Sahib, and Professor Muhammad Ali Ahmad Sahib. These esteemed elders insisted that he seek guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra. However, despite their encouragement, he said, he lacked the courage to face Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra and actively ask his questions. Professor Sahib requested Professor Muhammad Ali Ahmad Sahib to accompany him.

Proceeding to the meeting with Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra

Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Sahib states, one day, he received permission to meet with Huzoorra, accompanied by Professor Muhammad Ali Ahmad Sahib. He said that during those days, Hazrat Abdul Rahim Dardra was likely performing the duties of the private secretary. When it was his turn to meet with Huzoorra, he said that he ascended the stairs leading to the top floor, where arches and doorways were adorned with carpets and chairs. Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra was seated, and as they climbed the final flight of stairs, they reached the top floor, where Huzoorra stood up to welcome them.

Professor Sahib said that the amount of grace and love was overwhelming. The way Huzoorra treated him with equality, brotherhood, and love in such a natural manner dissolved his hesitation, he said. And thus, he stated that he was able to present the concerns and dilemmas of his heart and mind openly before Huzoorra.

The momentous meeting with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra

Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Sahib reminisced that he used to see Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra during the annual jalsas. However, on such occasions, it would often rain. Huzoorra would sit on the floor and engage with the congregation.

He states that he had not previously had the opportunity for an individual meeting. He added that he had gathered the courage to discuss a very important topic with Huzoorra. During the mulaqat, Professor Sahib stated, Huzoorra created such a pleasant atmosphere that Professor Sahib’s courage increased, and his confidence was strengthened. This enabled him to speak openly with Huzoorra.

After a brief introduction, he presented his confusion to Huzoorra and sought solace. The remarkable thing, Professor Sahib said,  was that he didn’t even have to explain his difficulties in detail. Huzoorra understood everything with his extraordinary God-given insight and his mastery of external and internal sciences. Thus, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra began his answer. During this, not only were the veils of Professor Sahib’s mind lifted, but his heart also found immense satisfaction and peace. For half an hour, Huzoorra spoke with the utmost respect and love, while Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Sahib and Professor Muhammad Ali Ahmad Sahib sat and listened. Professor Sahib narrated that it felt as though Huzoorra was selecting the central and fundamental questions from his heart and mind and answering them in a profound and captivating manner.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, while discussing the two characteristics of communism, emphasised that communism aims to reform society through coercion. It employs coercion to seize the wealth of capitalists and redistribute it within society. Furthermore, coercion and violence plays a central and fundamental role in the establishment of the communist system.

Huzoorra emphasised that the use of force tends to evoke strong reactions, and its seemingly positive outcomes are short-lived. As an example, he pointed to the ill-fated attempt at enforcing an alcohol ban in America, highlighting its disgraceful failure. In contrast, he showcased the triumph of the Islamic prohibition of alcohol, preceded by a robust foundation of psychological revolution and moral reform. Islam recognised the importance of fortifying these fundamental aspects before addressing the issue of alcohol. It is worth noting, Huzoorra added, that Islam does not seek to seize wealth or control the means of production. Rather than advocating for the eradication of capitalism through coercion, Islam imparts teachings that facilitate a spiritual and moral transformation within society. Gradually, but assuredly, economic blessings are attained voluntarily, without forceful measures. Islamic education does not suppress individual creativity or competitive spirit. Instead, it nurtures voluntary benevolence, fostering an increased capacity for goodness, heightened social empathy, and a profound sense of compassion among individuals within the community.

Huzoorra further elucidated that communism, as a system, gradually suppresses the subconscious mental faculties. Firstly, communism places disproportionate emphasis on the value of physical labour, failing to acknowledge the rightful place of mental work. Moreover, it employs coercion, mechanisation, and uniformity in a manner that damages the spirit of competition, stifles intellectual growth, hampers innovation and initiative, and diminishes the power of decision-making and will. As time passes, the negative effects of the communist system become apparent, turning momentary success into lasting inertia.

In contrast, Islam fosters equality, brotherhood, and freedom in society through a comprehensive approach encompassing the psychological, natural, moral, and spiritual realms. Islam employs independent and self-governing approaches to instil these values. Furthermore, it establishes economic equity through subtle yet highly effective wealth distribution, while simultaneously nurturing and cultivating intellectual capabilities.

Professor Sahib’s final question to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra

Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Sahib said that he found immense satisfaction in Huzoor’sra interpretations. As Huzoorsa concluded his answer, Professor Sahib mustered the courage to pose one final question. He inquired about the possibility of establishing a cooperative agreement between a government representing the working class and the owners of the means of production, aiming to organise the economy without resorting to coercion. Such an arrangement would enable planned economic initiatives and ensure the country’s economic prowess remains intact. He wondered if such an approach would be deemed legitimate.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra replied that this approach shall indeed be deemed valid. With that, Professor Syed Akhtar Ahmad Sahib sought permission to take leave.

(Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 8, pp. 353-358 was consulted in preparing this article.)

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