Letters from Chachran: Khawaja Ghulam Farid’s support of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

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Last Updated on 24th March 2021

A brief account of the correspondence between the Promised Messiahas and Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid of Chachran

Furhan Hamza Qureshi, Lecturer Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada

Introduction

In the province of Punjab, in current-day Pakistan, lies the small town of Chachran. It’s not an especially popular town – many people probably don’t even know of its existence – but it does have one claim to fame. Chachran is the hometown of a reputable nineteenth-century saint of the Chishti-Nizami order; Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid. 

Shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid | Photo credit: Wiki Commons

Born in 1845, Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid was a descendant of Hazrat Umarra, Second Caliph of the Holy Prophetsa. He hailed from a hereditary line of sufi successors who passed down spiritual and temporal authority from father to son. 

His father, Khawaja Khuda Bakhsh, was one of the successors of Khawaja Fakhruddin of Delhi. This line traced its roots to one of the most famous sufi saints of India, Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliyarh (1238-1325 CE). Ultimately, after the demise of his elder brother in 1872, the reigns of successorship passed onto Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid. 

Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid’s piety, breadth of knowledge and magnetic personality attracted many towards him. Fluent in six languages, he was also a poet of remarkable prowess and his poems have received universal acclaim and contain many points of spiritual wisdom.

He passed away in 1901 at the age of 55. His mausoleum is in Mithankot, about 135 kilometres south of Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab, Pakistan.

The mubahala challenge 

The advent of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, peace be upon him, caused a great stir in India. His defence of Islam from the attacks of Christians and Hindus was unprecedented. At first, some Muslim scholars welcomed this champion of faith onto the scene, but that would change in 1891, when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – under divine instructions – made the claim to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Scholars initiated a campaign against him, collecting edicts from as far as Mecca, declaring him an unbeliever (God forbid). 

In 1897, in his book Anjam-e-Atham, the Promised Messiah issued a mubahala challenge (prayer duel) to the sajjada nasheens (successors of sufi saints) of India, saying that they had caused him great pain and anguish by labeling him a disbeliever and heretic. Now, God Almighty had instructed him to engage them in a prayer duel so that the truth may become distinct from falsehood. (Anjam-e-Atham, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 11, pp. 64-68)

The addressees of this challenge were over a hundred Muslim scholars and sajjadah nasheens, whose names were listed in the book – Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid’s name was amongst them too.

Whereas most of the addressees either remained silent or expressed opposition, Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid immediately responded to the challenge, clarifying his stance regarding the Promised Messiahas

In an Arabic letter, dated 27 Rajab 1314 AH (31 December 1896) he wrote:

قد أرسلت إلي الكتاب وبه دعوت إلى المباهلة و طالبتَ بالجواب وإني وإن كنتُ عديم الفرصة ولكن رأيتُ جزءه من حسن الخطاب وسَوق العتاب اعلم يا أعزَّالأحباب اني من بدوحالك واقف على مقام تعظيمك لنيل الثواب وما جرتْ على لساني كلمةٌ في حقّك، إلا بالتبجيل ورعاية الآداب والآن اطلع لك بأني معترف بصلاح حالك بلا ارتياب وموقن بأنك من عباد اللّٰه الصالحين وفي سعيك المشكور مثاب وقد أوتيتَ الفضل من الملك الوهاب ولك أن تسأل من اللّٰه تعالى خيرعاقبتی

“… you sent me the book in which you invited me to a mubahala and sought a response. Although I haven’t much spare time, I looked at a portion of it, which is replete with eloquence and admonition. O most honourable of men, you should know that since the beginning, my position has always been to honour you, so that I might receive reward from God. I have only ever spoken about you with reverence and respect. Now, I inform you that I undoubtedly acknowledge your goodness. I believe that you are among the righteous servants of Allahand that your efforts are appreciated and will be rewarded. You have been granted grace from God, the Master and Great Benefactor. Pray to Allah the Almighty that my end be a fortunate one …”  (Anjam-e-Atham, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 11, pp. 323-324)

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi

Upon receiving this letter, the Promised Messiahas commented that contrary to the thousands of clerics who had rejected him, Khawaja Ghulam Farid displayed “the light of righteousness” by responding so sincerely. Then, he prophetically stated:

اب‭ ‬جب‭ ‬تك‭ ‬يہ ‬تحريريں‭ ‬دنيا‭ ‬ميں‭ ‬رهيں‭ ‬گی۔‭ ‬مياں‭ ‬صاحب‭ ‬موصوف‭ ‬كا‭ ‬ذكر‭ ‬بالخير‭ ‬بهی ‬اس‭ ‬كے‭ ‬ساتھ ‬دنيا‭ ‬ميں‭ ‬كيا‭ ‬جائے‭ ‬گا۔‭ ‬يہ ‬زمانہ ‬گذر‭ ‬جائے‭ ‬گا۔‭ ‬اور‭ ‬دوسرا‭ ‬زمانہ ‬آئے‭ ‬گا۔‭ ‬اور‭ ‬خدا‭ ‬اس‭ ‬زمانے‭ ‬كے‭ ‬لوگوں‭ ‬كو‭ ‬آنكهيں‭ ‬دے‭ ‬گا‭ ‬اور‭ ‬وه‭ ‬اُن‭ ‬لوگوں‭ ‬كے‭ ‬حق‭ ‬ميں‭ ‬دعاء خير‭ ‬كريں‭ ‬گے‭ ‬جنہوں‭ ‬نے‭ ‬مجهے‭ ‬پا‭ ‬كر‭ ‬ميرا‭ ‬ساتھ ‬ديا‭ ‬هے

“As long as these writings remain in the world, Mian [Ghulam Farid] Sahib will be remembered along with them. This era will pass, and another era will come; God will give insight to the people of that era and they will pray for those who, having found me, stood by my side.” (Anjam-e-Atham, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 11, p. 322)

The Promised Messiahas also responded to Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid in a letter that has been reproduced in his book Siraj-e-Munir. He wrote that the Holy Prophetsa had foretold that when the Promised Messiah would appear, only the righteous would testify to his truth and only the wicked would reject him. “Hence,” he said, “through the glad tidings of Mustafasa, you are in high standing and congratulations to you, from the Highest Lord.” (Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 12, p. 90)

Letters of devotion

Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid wrote two more letters to the Promised Messiahas, expressing his love and devotion. 

The first of these letters was in Persian, dated 27 Sha‘ban 1314 AH (30 January 1897). In it, he said that upon receiving the Promised Messiah’sas warm response, he was overcome with joy. Although he was being reprimanded by other scholars for supporting the Promised Messiahas, he professed such reproach had no effect on him. 

He wrote that the more he became aware of the Promised Messiah’sas efforts for the cause of Islam, his heart was increasing in its sincerity towards him. He articulated his yearning to meet the Promised Messiahas in person with the prayer:

دعاست‭ ‬كه‭ ‬از‭ ‬عنايت‭ ‬حق‭ ‬سببے‭ ‬بهتر‭ ‬پيدا‭ ‬آيد‭ ‬و‭ ‬ساعتے‭ ‬نيكو‭ ‬روئے‭ ‬نمايد‭ ‬كه‭ ‬حجاب‭ ‬مباعدت‭ ‬جسمانی ‬و‭ ‬نقاب‭ ‬مسافت‭ ‬طولانی ‬از‭ ‬مياں‭ ‬برخيزد‭ ‬

“I pray that by the favour of God, such a means may be created – and that fortunate hour may arrive – by which the veil of bodily separation and the mask of lengthy distance is lifted from between us.”

He ended the letter by requesting a copy of the Promised Messiah’sas essay, which was presented at the Conference of Great Religions, and later published as Islami Usul ki Philosophy (The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam). (Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 12, p. 91)

In response, the Promised Messiahas wrote a lengthy letter in Persian, detailing the purpose of his advent and inviting Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid towards his community. In gratitude for the Khawaja’s expression of love towards him, the Promised Messiahas wrote:

“Thank God that this land is not devoid of such men of God who do not fear the blame of a critic while expressing a word of truth; and who possess a light from the One God and wisdom from the Lord of Honour. Thus, their complete and pure nature draws them towards the truth; and the Spirit of Holiness assists them in establishing the truth. So, all praise belongs to Allah – again, all praise belongs to Allah – for we have found that these matters apply to you. (Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 12, p. 92)

He proceeded to write that God Almighty had named him Adam, and so those who accepted him would become like angels whereas his deniers would become Iblis. 

Addressing the opposition, he faced from Muslim clerics, the Promised Messiahas said that his case rested with God. If he was a liar, God would destroy him and his community; but if he was truthful, then God would help him against his enemies.

What followed this was a 177-couplet eloquent Persian poem. A few couplets of that poem are reproduced below:

اے‭ ‬فريدِ‭ ‬وقت‭ ‬در‭ ‬صدق‭ ‬و‭ ‬صفا

با‭ ‬تو‭ ‬باد‭ ‬آن‭ ‬رُو‭ ‬كه‭ ‬نامِ‭ ‬اُو‭ ‬خدا

“O peerless one of the era, in truth and purity; May that Being be with you Whose name is God!”

بر‭ ‬تو‭ ‬بارَد‭ ‬رحمتِ‭ ‬يارِ‭ ‬ازل

در‭ ‬تو‭ ‬تابد‭ ‬نُورِ‭ ‬دِلدارِ‭ ‬اَزَل

“May the mercy of the Eternal Friend be upon you; May the light of the Eternal Beloved shine in you.”

از‭ ‬تو‭ ‬جانِ‭ ‬من‭ ‬خوش‭ ‬ست‭ ‬اے‭ ‬خوشخصال

ديدمت‭ ‬مردے‭ ‬دريں‭ ‬قحط‭ ‬الرجال

“O good natured one, my soul is pleased with you. In the era of scarcity of men, I have found you to be a true man!”

اے‭ ‬مرا‭ ‬رُوئے‭ ‬محبت‭ ‬سوئے‭ ‬تو

بُوئے‭ ‬اُنس‭ ‬آمد‭ ‬مرا‭ ‬از‭ ‬كُوئے‭ ‬تو

“O you, towards whom the face of my love points; the fragrance of affection comes to me from your lane.”

كس‭ ‬ازيں‭ ‬مردم‭ ‬بما‭ ‬رُوئے‭ ‬نه‭ ‬كرد

ايں‭ ‬نصيبت‭ ‬بُود‭ ‬اے‭ ‬فرخنده‭ ‬مَرد

“From these men, no one turned towards us; O fortunate man, this was your destiny.”(Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 12, p. 94; Durr-e-Sameen Farsi with Urdu translation, Vol. 2, pp. 342-343)

Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid penned the response to this letter on 4 Shawwal 1314 AH (8 March 1897) which again expressed his ardent desire to meet the Promised Messiah: “We have a great yearning to meet your excellency,” he wrote. “Our love for you, the endeavourer in the way of Allah, is increasing with each passing day.” 

Acknowledging receipt of the copy of The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, he stated, “Along with being a priceless feast of verities, it has been presented in a remarkable manner, which has won over the hearts of listeners.”(Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 12, p. 102)

Words of love for the Promised Messiahas

Apart from these letters, Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid spoke words of high praise and love for the Promised Messiahas. These sayings were included in the first edition of Isharat-e-Faridi, the collection of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid’s discourses, published in 1902, shortly after his demise. It is unfortunate that these sayings have been removed from newer editions by his followers.(See Maqabees-ul-Majalis, p. 46-62, published by Al Faisal Nashiran wa Tajiran Kutub, Lahore)

They claim that the Khawaja recanted his praise of the Promised Messiahas after learning that he had claimed prophethood but fail to provide any evidence from his writings or sayings to substantiate this claim. In this age, however, the truth cannot be concealed. A scan of the first edition of Isharat-e-Faridi is readily available online. (www.rekhta.org/ebooks/isharat-e-fridi-khwaja-ghulam-fareed-ebooks)

Observe how bravely and openly Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid spoke in favour of the Promised Messiahas and his claims. It is mentioned that certain ostentatious scholars were once speaking ill of the Promised Messiahas. Upon hearing this, he rebuked them saying:

نی ‬نی ‬وی ‬مردی ‬صادق‭ ‬است‭ ‬مفتری ‬و‭ ‬كاذب‭ ‬نيست‭ ‬اين‭ ‬معامله‭ ‬جعلی ‬و‭ ‬خود‭ ‬ساخت‭ ‬او‭ ‬نيست

“No! No! He is a truthful man, not a fabricator or a liar. This matter is not made up by him.” (Isharat-e-Faridi, p. 42, published 1302 AH [c. 1902 CE])

On another occasion, someone asked him about the validity of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’sas claim to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. His response was:

اوصاف‭ ‬مهدی ‬پوشيده‭ ‬و‭ ‬پنهان‭ ‬هستند‭ ‬آن‭ ‬چنان‭ ‬نيستند‭ ‬كه‭ ‬در‭ ‬دلهای ‬مردم‭ ‬نشسته‭ ‬است‭ ‬چه‭ ‬عجب‭ ‬كه‭ ‬همين‭ ‬مرزا‭ ‬صاحب‭ ‬غلام‭ ‬احمد‭ ‬قاديانی ‬مهدی ‬باشد‭ ‬چه‭ ‬در‭ ‬حديث‭ ‬شريف‭ ‬آمده‭ ‬كه‭ ‬دوازده‭ ‬دجال‭ ‬اند‭ ‬پس‭ ‬چندان‭ ‬مهدی ‬اند‭ ‬و‭ ‬در‭ ‬حديثی ‬وارد‭ ‬شده‭ ‬است‭ ‬كه‭ ‬عيسیٰ ‬و‭ ‬مهدی ‬يكی ‬است

“The characteristics of the Mahdi are veiled and they are not according to the thoughts people harbour in their hearts. It is quite possible that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian is the Mahdi, for it is mentioned in ahadith that there would be twelve dajjals [antichrists] hence there should be as many Mahdis as well. It is also mentioned in a hadith that Jesus and the Mahdi would be one person.” (Isharat-e-Faridi, p. 123, published 1302 AH (c. 1902 CE))

He then continued by stating the example of the Holy Prophetsa:

چون‭ ‬آن‭ ‬حضرت‭ ‬صلی ‬الله‭ ‬عليه‭ ‬وآله‭ ‬وسلم‭ ‬ظاهر‭ ‬شدند‭ ‬و‭ ‬مبعوث‭ ‬گردند‭ ‬بعض‭ ‬علامات‭ ‬را‭ ‬مطابق‭ ‬پندار‭ ‬و‭ ‬فهم‭ ‬و‭ ‬وهم‭ ‬خودها‭ ‬نيافتند‭ ‬پس‭ ‬بر‭ ‬آن‭ ‬كسان‭ ‬كه‭ ‬امر‭ ‬آن‭ ‬حضرت‭ ‬مكشوف‭ ‬شدند‭ ‬اوشان‭ ‬ايمان‭ ‬آورده‭ ‬اند‭ ‬و‭ ‬بر‭ ‬آن‭ ‬گروه‭ ‬كه‭ ‬مكشوف‭ ‬نشد‭ ‬انكار‭ ‬كردند‭ ‬هم‭ ‬چنين‭ ‬است‭ ‬حال‭ ‬مهدی ‬پس‭ ‬اگر‭ ‬مرزا‭ ‬صاحب‭ ‬مهدی ‬باشد‭ ‬كدام‭ ‬امر‭ ‬مانع‭ ‬است

“When the Holy Prophetsa appeared, some people had made up signs of his advent according to their own understanding. Those who recognised the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa accepted him whereas those upon whom this matter was shrouded denied him. Such is the case with the Mahdi. Therefore, if Mirza Sahib is the Mahdi, then what is the hindrance?” (Isharat-e-Faridi, p. 124, published 1302 AH [c. 1902 CE])

Furthermore, Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid silenced critics who raised allegations about the sign of the eclipses in Ramadan of 1894 (Isharat-e-Faridi, p. 27, published 1302 AH [c. 1902 CE]) and the fulfilment of the prophecy regarding Abdullah Atham. 

In the case of the latter, when he heard some of his followers – including the Nawab of Bahawalpur – mocking the prophecy after the initial 15-month period ended and Atham seemed to have survived, he reprimanded them saying, “Who says Atham is alive? I can see his corpse!” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 17, p. 405, Friday Sermon, 19 June 1936)

Thereafter, when Atham ultimately died, he said Atham had died through the “breath of Mirza Sahib” (Isharat-e-Faridi, p. 15, published 1302 AH [c. 1902 CE]). In other words, according to Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid, Atham died through the prayers and the powerful spiritual effect of the Promised Messiahas.

Mentioning some of the qualities of the Promised Messiahas and why he considered him to be a truthful man, Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid once stated:

مرزا‭ ‬غلام‭ ‬احمد‭ ‬قاديانی ‬هم‭ ‬بر‭ ‬حق‭ ‬است‭ ‬و‭ ‬در‭ ‬معامله‭ ‬خود‭ ‬راست‭ ‬و‭ ‬صادق‭ ‬است‭ ‬و‭ ‬هشت‭ ‬پاس‭ ‬در‭ ‬عبادت‭ ‬حق‭ ‬سبحانه‭ ‬غرق‭ ‬است‭ ‬و‭ ‬جهة‭ ‬ترقی ‬اسلام‭ ‬و‭ ‬اعلای ‬امر‭ ‬دين‭ ‬متاعی ‬بجان‭ ‬است‭ ‬هيچ‭ ‬امر‭ ‬در‭ ‬وي‭ ‬مذموم‭ ‬و‭ ‬قبيح‭ ‬نه‭ ‬مي‭ ‬بينم‭ ‬اگر‭ ‬دعوی ‬مهدويت‭ ‬و‭ ‬عيسويت‭ ‬كرده‭ ‬است‭ ‬آنهم‭ ‬ازان‭ ‬امرست‭ ‬كه‭ ‬جائز‭ ‬است

“Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian is also right and he is honest and true in his affair. He is engrossed in the worship of God Almighty day and night and has devoted his life to the advancement of Islam and raising the cause of Faith high. I do not see anything wrong or bad in him at all. If he has claimed to be the Mahdi and Messiah, that too is permissible.” (Isharat-e-Faridi, p. 179, published 1302 AH [c. 1902 CE])

Testifying to the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas

In Haqiqatul-Wahi, the Promised Messiahas mentioned a dream of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Faridra and listed it as the nineteenth sign of his divine commission. He wrote:

“Khawaja Ghulam Farid, the pir [spiritual mentor] of the Nawab of Bahawalpur, saw a dream testifying to my truthfulness, on account of which God Almighty imbued his heart with love for me. And on this very account, Khawaja [Ghulam Farid], in the book Isharat-e-Faridi, which consists of his sayings, repeatedly testifies to my truthfulness.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation [English translation of Haqiqatul-Wahi], p. 262)

He continued by saying that some clerics visited the Khawaja to try to dissuade him from this love and support; however, “he paid no heed to anyone and gave these unenlightened mullahs such crushing replies as silenced them completely. By the grace of God, he died a believer testifying to my truthfulness.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation [English translation of Haqiqatul-Wahi], p. 262)

History is preserved 

The Promised Messiahas encapsulated this saint’s spirituality and righteousness in the following words:

“In short, God Almighty had blessed Khawaja Ghulam Farid with the inner light that he could distinguish between the truthful and an impostor at a single glance. May God bless him with His mercy and grant him a place in His nearness. Amin.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation [English translation of Haqiqatul-Wahi], p. 262)

The so-called heirs of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid may try to erase mention of the Promised Messiahas from his books, but they cannot change facts. His correspondence with the Promised Messiahas is well documented and will forever stand as a testament to his righteousness. 

There will come a time when this history which has been purposefully shrouded to try to hide the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas will unveiled and the world will come to recognise the light of truth. 

So long as the books of the Promised Messiahas remain, so too will the letters of devotion and love from Chachran.

Further Reading

1. Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 12, pp. 88-102: A record of the correspondence between the Promised Messiahas and Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid, in Persian and Urdu.

2. Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid of Chachran Sharif Kay Irshadat Mein TahrifAl Fazl International, 29 December 2000, pp. 3-4, 10: A detailed article by Maulana Dost Muhammad Shahid on the correspondence and sayings of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid, in Urdu.

3. Hazrat Masihe-Maud Kay Mutalliq Pir Ghulam Farid Sahib Kay BayanatAl Fazl Qadian, 1 March 1932, p. 6: A collection of some sayings of Hazrat Khawaja Sahib regarding the Promised Messiahas, in Persian and Urdu.

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