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
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra always strived to protect the honour of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the rights of Muslims. In 1927, he visited Shimla, where various dignitaries had the opportunity to meet him, in light of his efforts to promote peace and harmony. During British rule, Shimla served as the summer capital of the subcontinent due to the extreme heat in Delhi.
In addition to exchanging ideas with Muslim and non-Muslim leaders of India, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra also spent much of his time establishing good relations with government officials during his visit to Shimla in order to promote peace and unity. He arrived on 13 August 1927 and stayed for nearly one and a half months before returning to Qadian on 2 October 1927.
During this significant journey, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra activities were focused on religious, national, and community matters from start to finish, and his engagements reached a peak.
As announced by Yusuf Ali Sahib, Huzoor’s Private Secretary, in the publication Al Fazl dated 30 August 1927, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra resided at Kingsley in Shimla and his telephone number was 2585.
During his trip to Shimla, Huzoorra invited Muslim and non-Muslim political leaders and government figures for tea and meals. This hospitality is briefly mentioned in Al Fazl. Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, who served as editor of Al Hakam, travelled as a correspondent for this important and historic trip. In the 7 October 1927 edition of Al Fazl, Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira wrote about Sarojini Naidu, a famous woman political leader in India who dedicated her life to serving the people of the country. She also presided over the Indian political party Congress.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra invited Sarojini Naidu to a meeting, which she attended with great sincerity. Her speeches on Islam, which she gave on various occasions, demonstrate her vast knowledge and impartial spirit. During the meal, she continued to express her views and ideas on Hindu-Muslim unity.
Sarojini Naidu, who was of Bengali origin and an eloquent woman, spoke about various aspects of the country’s condition at the event, upon being invited. She also shared the views of various political leaders expressed in their meetings regarding Huzoorra.
She said that on one occasion, Mr Jinnah, who later went on to establish Pakistan, expressed his admiration for the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, saying that it is well-organised. She also shared her views and the opinions of other leaders about the Jamaat and its practical impact. (Al Fazl, 7 October 1927)
Further, in his report published in Al Fazl on 7 October 1927, Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Alira wrote that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’s final week in Shimla was filled with a series of invitations and meetings, that had been ongoing since his arrival. Some invitations were extended to leaders and dignitaries, while others were for Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra to attend the meetings. The last week was particularly busy with various important engagements. He added that he had not seen a single day where Hazrat Khalifatul Masih had an opportunity to go to bed before 1am; in fact, sometimes Huzoorra had to sleep even later than that.
The frequent lack of sleep and hard work were evident on Huzoorra, according to Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfani’sra report. He also noted that the trip to Shimla established the greatness and significance of the Jamaat, which was a result of Huzoor’sra personal sacrifice. Unlike others who visit Shimla to relax, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, a true servant of Islam, aimed to protect his nation and religion from foreign attacks by sacrificing his time, rest, and wealth.
Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira reported that Dewan Abdul Hameed, the Prime Minister of Kapurthala, was one of the few prominent followers of Islam who displayed a practical example of religious competence and good management.
He attended Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’sra invitation and extended an invitation to Huzoorra to visit his home. Although Diwan Sahib was not an Ahmadi, he demonstrated, through his adherence to Islamic ethics, that differences in opinion and belief should not obstruct the development of social relationships. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat, the reporter writes, has a longstanding relationship with the state of Kapurthala.
After recording the meeting of the Nawab Sahib of Malerkotla with Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra, the reporter stated that on 25 September 1927, a meeting was held in the upper yard of Kingsley by the aggrieved Muslims of Shimla, which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra presided over. This joint session of Ahmadi and non-Ahmadi Muslims was held to establish the Jamiatul Ikhwan. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra delivered a speech, and at the end of the meeting, the audience was served tea by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, Shimla.
Further, Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira reported that on 29 September 1927, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra invited European and Indian dignitaries to tea at the Cecil Hotel. Through mutual meetings and the exchange of ideas in this manner, many misunderstandings and confusions can be removed, which in turn strengthens the social fabric of a society.
According to the report of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra stay in Shimla by Dr Hashmatullah Sahib, published in Al Fazl on 2 September 1927, a German tourist who had travelled to Turkey, Egypt, Baghdad, Persia, and other places came to meet Huzoorra. After the German tourist’s departure, Khan Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Member of Assembly; Mr Mohsin Mirza, Principal Government College Kamalpur; Headmaster of Chief College Lahore; and Khan Bahadur Abdul Ahad, a retired engineer, had the privilege of meeting Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra.
In Hazrat Sheikh Yakub Ali Irfani’sra report published in Al Fazl on 9 September 1927, it was mentioned that representatives from the Maharashtra Party, Mr Kalkar and Mr Pahlavi, visited Huzoorra. Additionally, Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub, Deputy President of the Assembly; Sahibzadah Sir Abdul Qayyum, Khan Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Maulana Muhammad Shafi and other individuals such as Maulana Muhammad Irfan came to meet Huzoorra from time to time. They spent hours discussing ideas and not only praised but also supported the spirit of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra draft proposals regarding the proposed law by the Government for honouring religious founders.
According to the report of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra engagements on 3 September 1927, it is mentioned that Huzoorra invited the Assistant Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India, Mr Egerton, to tea and they discussed various matters for an hour.
Further, according to a report by Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira in Al Fazl, Khan Zulfiqar Ali Khan stated that on 1 September, Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra, along with Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra as the translator, had a meeting with the Viceroy of India for about half an hour at the Viceregal Lodge. (Al Fazl, 13 September 1927)
Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, in his report, highlights the significance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II’sra meetings with the Viceroy of India and the Governor of Punjab throughout his stay in Shimla. He notes that people often have their own personal and worldly motives and objectives when meeting with authorities, but Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra only purpose was the welfare of the country and its people. In particular, the focus of his meeting with the Viceroy of India was on promoting peace and unity between Hindus and Muslims in the country.
The Governor of Punjab requested a meeting with Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra through a friendly letter. On 17 September 1927, the governor and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih had a meeting. The main topic discussed during this meeting was the prevention of Hindu-Muslim riots in the country.
The friendly and frank spirit that Sir Malcolm Healy displayed at this meeting was admirable. This is the only way in which a responsible ruler can have a direct understanding of the true conditions and the true sentiments of the country. The discussion continued for about an hour.
Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, in connection with the stay in Shimla, writes that Sir Abdullah Haroon Jaffer, who was a respected man and Muslim leader and member of the Assembly of Poona, came to visit Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. Sir Jaffar had a great interest in the educational organisation of the Muslims of Maharashtra. And for fourteen years consecutively, he held an academic conference there every year. Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfani Sahibra writes that for that year’s session, which was to be held in the second week of October, he requested Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra to send a lecturer, which was approved by Huzoorra. It is hoped that the speeches of the Ahmadi speakers at the conference will, by the grace of God, create a special effect.
Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira further writes that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II’sra wife was also invited to various events, forging ties with prominent Indian and European ladies. She also hosted a successful event herself, attended by women of diverse backgrounds, including English, Hindu, Parsi, Sikh, and Muslim. The Commissioner’s wife, Mrs Miles Irving, was also in attendance. The event was attended by prominent figures such as Sarojini Naidu, female members of the Kapurthala royal family, the wife of Mr Jinnah, and other distinguished ladies. The event took place in the hall of Shimla’s famous firm, Davy Co, for two and a half hours, with full purdah arrangements. Hazrat Umm-ul-Momineen, Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara, also graced the event. The efforts of Hazrat Nawab Mubarika and Begum Sahibara on behalf of the host to make the event successful also deserve appreciation.
Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira writes that Huzoor’sra stay in Shimla was not a small event. It was a means of sowing the seed of wonderful developments for the future of the Jamaat.
Whether it be in Qadian, Egypt, London, or even Paris, people from all walks of life have flocked and assembled to catch a glimpse of the Khulafa of the Promised Messiahas. The prophecy the Promised Messiahas received regarding people who would travel from far to come to meet him is a unique one that has not been confined to Qadian but extends to wherever the Khalifa of the Messiah is. The awe-inspiring spectacle of people from all backgrounds, united in their quest to seek the guidance and blessings of the Khalifa, is a testament to the power and universality of the message of the Promised Messiahas. It fills one’s heart with emotion and reverence, to witness the fulfilment of this prophecy in real time.