Huzoor’s cousin and brother-in-law reminisces his time spent with Huzooraa
Syed Qasim Ahmad Shah, Pakistan
When Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa passed his MSC examination, he presented himself before Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh and sought permission to devote his life as waqif-e-zindagi. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh instructed him to give his request to the offices of Tahrik-e-Jadid.
After taking Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahib’s request for life devotion and conducting his interview, Tahrik-e-Jadid responded by saying that they did not require skills in agriculture for the time being. In response, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh replied, “They may not feel the need, however, I need him.”
He then told Huzooraa to devote his life under the Nusrat Jehan Scheme. In this manner, Huzooraa travelled to Ghana after devoting his life under the Nusrat Jehan Scheme.
In Ghana, Huzoor’s first placement was as a teacher at Talim-ul-Islam High School in a town called Salaga. The house in which Huzooraa resided consisted of two rooms; one was occupied by the principal of the school and the other room was used by Huzooraa. The house had a small kitchen and a small toilet that was situated outside. Later, when Huzoor’s respected wife and daughter arrived in Ghana, both rooms were given to the family where they resided for a significant period.
I lived in Nigeria and would visit them in Ghana, and I remember that I never heard any complaint from Huzooraa nor his family regarding the poor living conditions. Not only this, but they actually lived with great contentment and happiness while also diligently carrying out their services.
The allowance Huzooraa received was very meagre. In fact, it was so little that surviving on such an allowance was close to impossible. A solution Huzooraa worked out for this was that he grew his own vegetables around his house and kept some chickens. In this way, he made provisions.
After some time, Huzooraa was posted as the headmaster of the Ahmadiyya School in Assarkyir, Ghana. Upon arriving there, Huzooraa started the construction of the school and a house for accommodation. When I say that he constructed, I do not mean that he supervised the building work, rather he participated in the actual labour himself. He would supervise the construction and take part in the building work.
Acquiring building material was no easy task either. It would be found at great distances. Huzooraa would first try to locate each bag of cement and would then bring it back himself. He would go, load the material and then transport it back – most of Huzoor’s time during this period was spent in travel. In fact, all the necessaries for the school and the house were gathered through these difficult circumstances. Through Allah’s grace, the construction was a great success.
I had the good fortune of accompanying Huzooraa on some of his travels in Africa. Whilst traveling with someone, the true character of a person can be observed. During these travels and in everyday life, I noticed that Huzooraa had an extraordinary capacity of tolerance and patience. This is the case even today. Huzoor’s tolerance was not limited at all. Some people have tolerance but it is limited, however, Huzooraa would tolerate everything and all difficult situations.
Whether it was suffering, someone’s inappropriate attitude or extreme hunger, in truth, the most troublesome situation would not hinder Huzoor’s composure. One could not sense, neither from his words nor his actions, that Huzooraa was enduring arduous conditions or that circumstances had become difficult for Huzooraa.
In 1982, I returned to Pakistan and devoted my life for the service of the Jamaat. Prior to this, I had only devoted three years, but now I sought permission for serving as a life devotee. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh replied, “Go to Nigeria. I have an agricultural project that I want to assign to you and Masroor.”
From Nigeria, I went to Ghana with another member of the Jamaat. Huzooraa was already living in Ghana at the time.
In Ghana, we surveyed 1,000 acres of land for the project. During that time conditions were very tough, however Huzooraa went to work instantly. Though tractors were available in Ghana, they were still hard to come by. Therefore, locals would cultivate their land without the use of tractors and machinery. In this manner, all the work for the project was started from scratch.
At the time, locals did not know how to draw water from the ground and so a pump was purchased from Pakistan and sent to us, however, it did not operate properly.
Then, a second-hand pump was bought from within Ghana to pump water from the ground. Huzooraa installed the whole water pump himself; every single pipe was fitted by Huzooraa and it was all put together by him. The locals did not know how to make irrigation trenches either and so Huzooraa showed them how to by digging out the trenches himself.
The conditions were such that once the locals were told to make water irrigation trenches, they piled high walls of mud. Yet, when the water passed through, it seeped through the walls and the whole irrigation trench disappeared. Seeing this, Huzooraa taught them how irrigation trenches needed to be dug into the ground, consequently strengthening its walls and stopping any leaks. This, Huzooraa practically did himself and taught others as well.
Later, a tractor was needed. This was found, however there was no harrow with it. The solution to this was that Huzooraa built a harrow himself and would stand on top of the harrow so that it worked. He endured all the dust, sand and hard work but with great cheerfulness.
Huzooraa always worked with a joyful temperament and taught others with this same spirit. It would always give Huzooraa great pleasure when teaching those around him. I have witnessed this in Africa and now, in terms of administration, I have seen that it gives Huzooraa happiness when he teaches those around him. As a result, the workers can learn and are given a morale boost, through which they desire to work even more diligently.
Once, as I was travelling from Nigeria to Ghana, Huzooraa asked me to bring some wheat seeds. There was wheat in northern Nigeria and as Huzooraa was in northern Ghana, the conditions of the two areas were similar. I took five to six kilograms of seeds in a bag to Ghana. With great care and attention, Huzooraa sowed them and it was successful. The wheat was cut and then threshed with sticks, making more seeds available.
When this was taking place, we had come to know of a German company that was trying to grow wheat in Ghana but had abandoned the project, stating that it was impossible to grow wheat in Ghana. I have personally seen this written in their records; huge files were written on the topic of growing wheat in Ghana with the conclusion that it was impossible. However, Allah blessed Huzoor’s efforts and wheat was grown in Ghana.
There was huge publicity when, through Huzoor’s efforts, wheat was grown for the first time in Ghana. There was an enormous reaction across newspapers and the television – everyone was talking about it.
In 1985, I was posted to Ghana where Huzooraa had previously been. At the time, I had no visa and would have to constantly travel back to Nigeria to renew it. Nevertheless, the wheat growing project that Huzooraa had successfully carried out developed such a good reputation that once, when I was talking to a visa officer, I mentioned that I too was part of the wheat growing project in Ghana. Upon hearing this, the officer was delighted and instantly granted me a visa to Ghana, thus resolving the issue.
Huzoor’s efforts were extremely blessed that he was able to successfully cultivate wheat in Ghana without any major expenditure, whereas others had spent hundreds of thousands but to no avail.
This holds a very special historical significance. The harvest of wheat took place in northern Ghana in a village called Dipale, 70 miles from Tamale. It was the responsibility of the government to further develop this. Anyhow, Allah made this possible through the hands of Huzooraa.
Allah had promised divine support to Huzooraa a very long time ago.
I remember, one morning, on the day of our university exam, Huzooraa said to me:
“All my worries have vanished” and then said, “I was told in a dream:
یَنْصُرُکَ رِجَالٌ نُوْحِیْ اِلَیْھِمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ
[‘Men will help you whom We shall direct from heaven’.]”
In a light-hearted manner, I commented, “This is just a minor exam. The dream is probably indicating towards something else.” Huzooraa remained silent.
I have noticed that Huzooraa would usually stay quiet when such matters were discussed.
Huzooraa would rarely share his experiences. He probably told me about this dream because we were living in the hostel at the time and he may have also mentioned it to his wife.
Huzooraa felt uncomfortable listening to any praise of his, even if it was in the slightest manner.
What remains to be mentioned is that we went to Africa together and then in Rabwah, we also worked together in offices. By that time, I had forgotten this dream.
Later, when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh appointed Huzooraa as nazir-e-ala and amir-e-muqami, and as a result, a great responsibility was placed on Huzoor’s shoulders, I recalled this dream.
Once, when I was walking with Huzooraa to Maghrib prayer, I reminded Huzooraa of his dream and said that perhaps it was this responsibility the dream pointed to. With great humility, Huzoor said, “Yes, perhaps it was this as well.”
However, Allah showed the world what the divine promise was pointing towards when he bestowed upon Huzoor the mantle of Khilafat.
Personally, I see it in this manner: Allah said:
اِنِّیْ مَعَکَ یَا مَسْرُوْر
(“Surely, I am with you, O Masroor”) and then also:
یَنْصُرُکَ رِجَالٌ نُّوْحِیْ اِلَیْھِمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ
(“Men will help you whom We shall direct from heaven”), meaning, “O Masroor, I am with you and to help you, I shall direct the hearts of people.” Thus, we can observe this special divine help and support in all of Huzoor’s works.
In keeping with the topic of our time together studying, our relationship and light-hearted moments, I would also like to say that on the night in which the election of Khilafat was to take place, everyone was eagerly in anticipation. I was in the office of Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Rabwah. At the time of the announcement, I was in the department of Umur-e-Ama.
When it was announced that Huzooraa was elected as Khalifatul Masih, all I remember is that Allah granted my heart a very strong sense of comfort. I had no other thought; the thought did not even occur to me that I had a previous relationship with Huzooraa.
Around the same time, Hidayatullah Hadi Sahib came to Pakistan from Canada and narrated a dream of his that was very interesting. He said that he saw Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira arrive and give him a key, saying to pass it to Mirza Masroor Ahmad. He narrated that in the dream, he said to Khalifatul Masih Ira, “This is not your era; it is another era.” Hidayatullah Sahib was not well-acquainted with Huzooraa at the time and had probably met with him only a few times. In the dream, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira once again said, “Give this key to Mirza Masroor Ahmad and tell him that Nuruddin has given it.”
How wonderful was this dream! The word “key” is called “miftah” in Arabic. Another name is “miftah-ul-ghaib” meaning “the key of the unseen”. What a great prophecy this was for Huzoor’s Khilafat of revealing the secrets of the unseen and establishing victories.
When I heard this dream, I recollected the fortunate time I had spent with Huzooraa. I had always perceived Huzooraa, in every condition, even when he was our zaeem for Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya or when we lived together at the university hostel, to be a hidden personality. He personified the Quranic verse:
السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْاَرْضَ کَانَتَا رَتْقاً فَفَتَقْنٰھُمَا
“The heavens and the earth were [a] closed-up [mass] and We opened them out.” (Surah al-Anbiya, Ch.21: V.31)
Huzoor’s personality was also like a closed-up mass that Allah continued to open with the passage of time. Whenever and whatever responsibility he was given, we would feel that he was the most suitable person for the task and Huzooraa had been made for that very task.
Then, another aspect is that whatever responsibility was given to Huzooraa, one could never sense that a great deal of hard work was being exerted by Huzooraa for the completion of the magnanimous tasks. One could not sense the amount of work being put in; however, the most terrific results could be witnessed. This is also the attribute of God Almighty:
ثُمَّ اسْتَویٰ عَلَی الْعَرْش
“Then He settled Himself on the throne.”
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh would say that Allah Almighty created such a perfect universe that the world had forgotten there was a Creator.
This is an indication of good organisation and it was always witnessed within Huzooraa. When he would carry out a task, there would be no commotion or chaos, neither in Huzooraa, nor within his office. With the grace of God, results would manifest themselves in the best manner.
When Huzooraa was appointed as nazir-e-ala, it seemed as if Allah had made him for this very task. However, when Allah raised Huzooraa to the throne of Khilafat, He showed the world what purpose He had created Huzooraa for. So, Huzooraa was a closed person; someone hidden. Allah Himself introduced the world to him. The Jamaat came to know him through dreams and visions, and the wider world through his great works.
Another aspect I would like to share is that people respected Huzooraa since his youth; his college professors in Rabwah and then his university professors would show great respect and reverence to him. Even during his youth, Huzooraa had an extraordinary personality.
I remember, during our university days, we had to go to Faisalabad from Rabwah. Once, it was essential that we went as we had an exam or something of the sort. We waited at the bus stop in Rabwah for a long time, but no bus had any space. Huzooraa said to me, “Wait here, I will bring my bicycle from my home.”
Huzooraa brought his bicycle and I sat on the front bar and Huzooraa cycled most of the way to Faisalabad. Pull Dingroo is approximately halfway between Rabwah and Faisalabad; we stopped there for a break and ate oranges.
There is another incident during our university days. In 1974, when the resolution was passed against Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya in Pakistan, the conditions within the country for Ahmadis became dangerous. Even within academic institutions, the conditions for Ahmadi students were tough. Bhutto announced that there was protection from the government for Ahmadi students, however Ahmadis themselves were not attending schools, colleges and universities.
Upon this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh first called students from the family of the Promised Messiahas. Huzooraa and I were present. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh instructed us all to immediately report to our universities.
Accordingly, the decision was made that everyone would travel to their academic institutions alone. I left first and sensed danger here and there en route but reached safely. When I got to the administration block, I found Huzooraa already present there and was going to his department where I accompanied him. We both had to report to the vice chancellor and by that time, the news of our presence spread across the university. The malevolent students at the campus had begun to guard the university exits and other posts. We were completely unaware that we were being searched for.
When Huzooraa exited his department, I pointed the way towards the vice chancellor house where we had to report. Huzooraa said that that way was dangerous and recommended that we go another way. At the time, there was a director of sports who was always friendly and kind towards us; he showed us great love. We both thought that we should stop by his house before proceeding. So, we stayed a little at his house and his son, who served us water, informed us that some Ahmadis had been caught. We had no authority to do anything ourselves, but we managed to safely exit the university campus. We immediately informed the amir of Faisalabad about the incident and he responded to the best of his ability.
Nevertheless, we later heard that those students were severely beaten and newspapers and even Newsweek reported the case. I firmly believe that Allah the Almighty was protecting Huzooraa that day in 1974 and as I was with Huzooraa, I too was safe.
Often, people ask me as I have spent time with Huzooraa, how he was before Khilafat as compared to today. A comparison is difficult, however, whenever I reflect, I realise that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, I had the good fortune to spend a lot of time in the presence of Huzooraa.
We were all aware that Huzoor’s memory had always been impeccable. However, if it was one degree before Khilafat, now it is 1,000 degrees.
In 2005, when Huzooraa travelled for Jalsa Salana Qadian, a worker from our Umur-e-Ama office had a mulaqat with Huzooraa. When he came out of the office, he was ecstatic and overjoyed. He explained to us that six months ago, he had written a letter to Huzooraa seeking prayers for his son to be enrolled into university. “Today”, he said, “Huzoor recalled my son’s exact name and asked whether he had been accepted into a university.” There are countless incidents like this that prove that Allah is supporting Huzooraa.
Allah the Almighty sharpens the strengths and senses of his chosen Khalifa. For the past few days, I have been suffering a rash on my scalp, therefore I would walk from the guest house in Islamabad to the mosque with my hat in my hand and then place it on my head right before Salat. One day, I forgot my hat and as the time for prayers was close, I could not go back to collect it.
I was seated at the very back of the mosque on a chair. When Huzooraa arrived, I looked towards him and I am sure that Huzooraa did not look towards the chair area. Later that day, during dinner, Huzooraa commented, “Qasim’s hair is still intact.” I took my hat off and replied, “Huzooraa, my hair is falling at a very fast rate.” Huzooraa said, “I saw in the mosque and I could see plenty of hair.”
I was dumbfounded. It seemed to me that Huzooraa had not looked towards me in the mosque but somehow, he was able to observe everything.
To improve every ability and sense is not the work of any man. When one meets worldly leaders, you can witness that they excel in a certain area, however excelling in numerous areas can only happen by the grace of God Almighty and only to the one whom Allah chooses Himself.
By observing the powers of the Khalifa, one is reminded of the Prophetsa whose Khalifa he is. If Allah the Almighty has bestowed such powers to the Khalifa, imagine what powers the Holy Prophetsa was given!
Though I had spent time with Huzooraa and was also informal with him, I now sometimes become extremely weary when I reminisce. It worries me to think that I may have done or said something that was not suitable to Huzoor’s status.
I cannot remember if ever even a line appeared on Huzoor’s forehead when someone from our age fellows, cousins or class-fellows had said something unpleasant to Huzooraa. Answering back or arguing was never the practice of Huzooraa. With great tolerance and patience, Huzooraa would always endure everything.
I remember when I first entered Huzoor’s office after he became Khalifatul Masih, all that was in my mind was that I was before the Khalifa and I had no other reference. Now, whenever I need to write to Huzooraa for guidance or to ask something, I worry a great deal and cannot muster the strength to write until I pray and give Sadqa.
If one claims to love Huzooraa, then his status as Khalifa first requires a great deal of respect. Love for such an entity cannot be complete without honour and respect. Sometimes, one loves another and at other times, they respect someone. Yet, the love for Khalifatul Masih demands that we respect him as well.
The Holy Quran also teaches honour and respect, that we do not raise our voices above that of a prophet. This commandment is also for the Khalifa.
May Allah the Almighty enable us all to understand the true status of Khilafat and may He grant Huzooraa a healthy, active and long life. Amin.