Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam
In March 1901, a seeker of truth by the name of Wazir Singh, from the district of Gujrat (Punjab), visited Hazrat Ahmadas in Qadian. He shared his internal struggles to find inner peace amidst the chaotic world and his quest for spirituality, which led him to seek guidance from several religious figures. After reading Hazrat Ahmad’sas treatise, “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam”, which was presented at the Conference of Great Religions, Wazir Singh developed a strong desire to visit Qadian but encountered difficulties in doing so. Eventually, Wazir Singh overcame the obstacles and met Hazrat Ahmadas in search of personal reformation.
The essence of Islam and the importance of gradual growth
Shedding light on the essence of Islam and its pursuit, the Promised Messiahas explained to him that Islam uplifts Man to attain his inherent essence and spirit, granting tranquillity, peace, and satisfaction. Islam emphasises the importance of gradual growth, as nothing can be attained instantly, and everything takes place in stages, similar to planting a seed and waiting for it to bloom. Huzooras stated:
“In truth, one should not settle for the outer shell and husk, nor can one be satisfied in doing so, for Man naturally desires to move forward. The religion of Islam seeks to uplift Man to attain the essence and spirit that he longs for by his inherent nature. The very name ‘Islam’ grants pleasure to the soul. There is no other religion whose name fills the soul with such a degree of satisfaction. […] The religion of Islam has been established to grant tranquillity, peace and satisfaction – all things for which the human soul hungers and thirsts – so that the one who hears this name can understand that an individual who believes in this religion with heartfelt sincerity and acts upon its teachings, is a person who possesses spiritual insight of the Divine. However, if an individual expects that everything should happen all at once and that they can attain the highest levels of divine insight instantly, then this will never happen. Everything in the world takes place in stages. One may observe that there is no form of knowledge or science that human beings do not attain slowly and gradually. It is imperative that one grows in stages. Do reflect! A farmer must wait after they plant a seed on the earth. First, he must bury his valuable grain in the earth, even though it is vulnerable to being plucked out by various animals, rotting in the earth, or being ruined in some other way. However, experience gives the farmer comfort that, despite these possibilities, a time will come when the seeds that he entrusted to the land will sprout, the crop will bloom, and this dirt-covered seed will turn into provision.”
Huzooras further highlighted the importance of spiritual nourishment and the idea that it cannot be attained quickly or easily. Huzooras said:
“Now take a moment to reflect that material, physical nourishment, which a person can only live without for a few days, requires six months to produce, even though a worldly life, which is sustained on physical sustenance, is not everlasting and will come to an end. How then can one attain spiritual provision, which is the nourishment for one’s spiritual life, a life that will never end and remain for all eternity, within a few days? “Although, truly, Allah Almighty has the power to do whatever He pleases in an instant, and it is my belief that nothing is impossible for Him.”
Hazrat Ahmadas went on to emphasise that the spiritual journey is not instantaneous, but a gradual process that requires repairing and preparing oneself before becoming worthy enough to be the dwelling place of God. Huzooras said:
“I recall that once a person came to visit me and said that in previous times, saints would elevate people to the highest spiritual stations by a single incantation. I told the person that they were mistaken; this is not how the law of God Almighty operates. For example, if one were to lay flooring in a house, one will have to first repair any sections that may be damaged, and wherever there is filth and rubbish, one will have to clean it with phenyl and the like. In short, only after numerous repairs and preparations have been made will the space be ready for flooring. Similarly, before a person’s heart becomes worthy enough to be the dwelling place of God Almighty, it remains the seat of Satan and is ruled by the kingdom of Satan. In order to usher in the heavenly kingdom, the kingdom of Satan must be uprooted.”
Huzooras stressed the importance of spiritual discipline and gradual progress in the path to Allah. He spoke of the negative consequences of seeking instant results and not following the gradual path, and said:
“So, the person that I have mentioned said to me that the saints of the past would turn people into saints and divines of the highest order with spells. I told the individual that this was not true and that the way of God does not function in this way. I told him to engage in spiritual discipline and only then will Allah Almighty open to him the avenues that lead to Him. The man who had come to me paid no attention to my words and left. After some time, the same person came to me again and I found him to be in an even worse state than before. In short, the unfortunate thing about Man is that he seeks a law that brings instant results, and when he observes that nothing can be attained instantaneously — because the law of Allah Almighty functions gradually and in stages — he becomes anxious. Ultimately, such people become atheists.”
Divine insight and God’s love: The source of true delight
Huzooras further explained that the fundamental purpose of life is to love God Almighty, but that love is the result of possessing the certainty of belief in the existence of Allah Almighty. Insight and love together create pleasure, and one cannot love without insight. Mere observance of beauty is not enough; one must gain a deeper understanding and insight. Huzooraa said:
“The fundamental purpose of life is to love God Almighty. However, in my view, love is the next stage, or rather, it is the end result. The most important thing, to begin with, is that one possesses certainty of belief in the existence of Allah Almighty. It is only after this that a person’s soul develops an attraction by itself and is naturally drawn towards God. The more one grows in cognisance and insight of the Divine the more one will increase in pleasure and joy. Without divine insight, no pleasure can be attained. The real source of pleasure and delight is, in fact, insight into matters divine.”
Alluding to deeper insight, Huzooras said:
“It is deeper insight alone that gives birth to love. The union of insight and love begets pleasure. One ought to remember that the mere observance of beauty is not sufficient to give rise to a sense of love, until one develops a deeper understanding and insight. Know for certain that love is impossible without insight. How can one love someone without first gaining a deeper understanding of their being? To think otherwise is to entertain an imaginary belief.”
Finding God: Sincere desire, patience, and Divine illumination
The Promised Messiahas went on to explain the etiquette of seeking God:
“It is my view that those who come to visit me, engage in a brief exchange, and then leave hastily without sitting with me, are acting as if they mock God. This is not how one finds God, nor has Allah the Exalted established such a law. Hence, the first condition in the search for God is a sincere desire. Secondly, one must remain engaged in this quest with patience. It is a matter of principle that the older a man becomes, the more experience they accumulate. Then, in order to develop divine insight, is it not crucial for one to remain in the company of a holy person for a good amount of time? I have seen many people who, in the prime of their youth, abandon the world completely, and then they wail and lament. Ultimately, I have found that such people became engrossed in the world of materialism and turned into worms of the earth.”
“You ought to remember always – and this is my belief – that the light of God cannot shine on anyone until that light descends upon them from heaven. It is indeed true that divine grace descends from heaven. Until and unless God Himself manifests His light upon a seeker, the pace at which he advances is no more than that of an insect, and so it should be. Such a person is entangled in countless forms of ignorance, darkness, and obstructions along the way. However, when divine light shines upon a person, their heart and mind are illuminated and become filled with light, whereafter they advance towards God at light speed.”
Wazir Singh said:
“Your Holiness, I am not a follower of any religion.”
Hazrat Ahmadas replied:
“If someone determines for themselves that they will not believe in anything, I can say nothing – what can I possibly say? However, a sensible individual must compel themselves to follow a path of some sort.”
The path to true Divine insight and the importance of seeking truth everywhere
Alluding to the foundation of true divine insight, Huzooras said:
“The elements on which true divine insight is based are that even when one is tried in the way of God again and again, and cast into an ocean of affliction and hardship, one does not worry in the least, but rather continues to advance. It is after this that divine insight is unveiled to such people, and this is true bliss and true pleasure. It is then that the heart melts; this emotion is not temporary, it is filled with pleasure and joy. The soul begins to flow towards God like a pure fountain of water.”
Huzooras further said:
“Bear in mind that one condition for a seeker of the truth is that they take the truth from wherever they find it. This is a light which guides them. At present, there is a struggle in the world. The Aryas pull people to themselves, while the Brahmos invite people to join them, and further still, the Dev Samaj call the people to join them over others. Then the Christians present Christianity above all others. In short, every religion pulls people to themselves and the chasm of their differences continues to grow larger and larger.”
Hazrat Ahmadas finished his address at that.
Wazir Singh’s letter to Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira
Wazir Singh remained in Qadian for a while and also benefited from the Promised Messiah’s company. He then made his way to Lahore. There, he wrote a letter to Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira Sahib:
“My Honourable Respected Sheikh Sahib,
“Please forgive my insolence. I had to leave Qadian suddenly due to certain circumstances. I shall now reflect on the manner in which I intend to spend my life for the sake of the hereafter. I feel pain for having been separated from your community.
“I am extremely grateful for the affection of His Holiness. I feel an immense sense of gratitude for the spiritual gift that I have been given and for all that was unveiled to me. However, it is most unfortunate that the world is full of the deepest darkness, and I stumble at every step. Without righteous company, it is very difficult for me to maintain my spirituality.
“I firmly believe, without a doubt, that His Holiness is an excellent example for seekers of spiritual grace, and it is imperative for one to constantly remain in his company. The state of the world is that while people throw pearls into the mud, they gather cowries, and they will throw dust on the heads of those who endeavour to safeguard those pearls. Alas! The people have afforded cowries the value of pearls. I am deeply concerned. Alas! What shall I do? Where shall I go? I am in a terrible state. My respects to your entire community Please pay my respects to His Holiness in particular and request that he and the entire community pray for me.
Promised Messiah’sas reply to Wazir Singh
The above letter was then presented to Hazrat Ahmad, who told the editor of Al Hakam to compose the following response: “Until a person remains in my company with patience and persistence, they cannot attain any real benefit. You should come here and stay with us for some time.”
(This piece draws heavily upon Al Hakam 1901 and Malfuzat [English], Vol. 3, pp. 120-136 for reference and source material.)