Men of Excellence

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Friday Sermon

17 April 2020

Men of Excellence

After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:

Today, from among the Badri companions, I shall present accounts from the life of Hazrat Mu‘azra bin Harith. Hazrat Mu‘azra belonged to the Banu Malik bin Najjar clan of the Khazraj tribe of the Ansar. His father’s name was Harith bin Rifa‘ah and his mother’s name was Afraa bint Ubaid. Hazrat Mu‘awwizra and Hazrat Aufra were his brothers. All three of these brothers used to be referred to by the name of their father as well as their mother. Hence, they were also known as Banu Afraa [the sons of Afraa].

Hazrat Mu‘azra and his two brothers, Hazrat Aufra and Hazrat Mu‘awwizra, participated in the Battle of Badr. Hazrat Aufra and Hazrat Mu‘awwizra were martyred during the Battle of Badr, but Hazrat Mu‘azra participated in all the subsequent battles along with the Holy Prophetsa thereafter.

According to one narration, Hazrat Mu‘azra bin Harith and Hazrat Raafi‘ra bin Malik Zuraqiyy were among the foremost Ansar who accepted the Holy Prophetsa in Mecca. Hazrat Mu‘azra was among those eight Ansar who accepted the Holy Prophetsa at the occasion of the First Pledge at Aqabah in Mecca. Likewise, Hazrat Mu‘azra was also present during the Second Pledge at Aqabah. When Hazrat Ma‘mar bin Harithra migrated from Mecca to Medina, the Holy Prophetsa established a bond of brotherhood between him and Hazrat Mu‘azra bin Harith. (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 5, pp. 190-191, Mu‘az bin al-Harith bin Rifa‘ah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003) (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 374, Mu‘az bin al-Harith, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)

Although the details of Abu Jahl’s death have already been presented in a sermon last year [Friday Sermon, 5 April 2019], I will present them here again due to their importance in relation to the account of Hazrat Mu‘azra. The narrations that I will present are from Bukhari. As the summary cannot be presented, the entire narration will need to be read out. 

Salih bin Ibrahim narrates from his grandfather Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf who stated:

“While I was standing in the row for the Battle of Badr, I looked to my right and left and found two youths from the Ansar. At the time I wished that I was standing among people who were older and stronger. During this very instance, one of them tapped me and asked, ‘Uncle, do you recognise Abu Jahl?’ I said to him, ‘Yes, my nephew, what do you want with him?’ He replied, ‘I learnt that he would hurl abuse at the Holy Prophetsa. I swear by Him in Whose Hands is my life, if I were to see him, my eyes would not move from him, until one of us – whose end has been decreed – dies.’”

Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin ‘Auf states:

“These words left me astonished. Then the other one who was standing on the other side tapped me and asked me the same question. After a short while, I saw Abu Jahl circling among the ranks. I said to them, ‘There is that individual about whom you asked.’ As soon as they heard this, they rushed towards him with their swords drawn. They continued their onslaught until he died.

Following this, they returned to the Holy Prophetas to inform him. The Holy Prophetsa enquired, ‘Which one of you killed him?’ Both of them replied that they had killed him. The Holy Prophetsa then asked, ‘Have you wiped your swords clean?’ They replied that they had not yet done so. The Holy Prophetsa examined their swords and said, ‘Both of you have killed him.’ Following this, he said, ‘His wealth will be given to Mu‘az bin Amr bin Jamuh.’” 

Both of them were named Mu‘az, i.e one was called Mu‘az bin Afraa and the other was Mu‘az bin Amr bin Jamuh.

This is a narration of Sahih Bukhari. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fard al-Khumus, Bab Man Lam Yukhammis al-Aslab, Hadith 3141)

Hazrat Anasra narrates, “On the day of the Battle of Badr, the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Who will go to see what became of Abu Jahl?’ Hazrat Ibn Mas‘udra went and saw that both sons of Afraa, Hazrat Mu‘azra and Hazrat Mu‘awwizra had struck him with their swords to such an extent that he was on the brink of death. Hazrat Ibn Mas‘udra went to him and asked if he was Abu Jahl? Hazrat Ibn Mas‘ud narrates, ‘I grabbed Abu Jahl by the beard. Abu Jahl said, “Have you killed a greater man than this”, or he said, “Had his nation killed a greater man than him?”’”

Ahmad bin Yunus has mentioned this in his narration in the following manner that Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud stated, “You must be Abu Jahl?” This is also a narration of Bukhari. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab Qatl Abi Jahl, Hadith 3962)

In relation to this narration found in Bukhari, Hazrat Sayyid Zain-ul-Abideen Waliullah Shah Sahib states in his commentary:

“In some narrations, it is mentioned that the two sons of Afraa, Mu‘azra and Mu‘awwizra, attacked Abu Jahl to the extent that he was on the brink of death and that Hazrat Abdullahra bin Mas‘ud severed his head later on. This is mentioned in Bukhari, in the Book of Maghazi [military expeditions]. Allama Ibn Hajar Asqalani has expressed the possibility of Mu‘awwizra bin Afraa having also attacked him [i.e. Abu Jahl] after Mu‘azra bin Amr and Mu‘azra bin Afraa had already done so.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Fard al-Khumus, Vol. 5, p. 491, Footnote, Urdu translation Nizarat Ishaat, Rabwah)

With regard to who took part in the killing of Abu Jahl during the Battle of Badr, in one place, we find the details regarding this in the following manner:

Ibn Hisham narrated from Allama Ibn Ishaq, “Mu‘azra bin Amr bin Jamuh wounded the leg of Abu Jahl, as a result of which he fell down. Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl struck Hazrat Mu‘az’s hand with his sword, which was severed as a result of the blow. Either his hand or his arm was cut off. Following this, Mu‘awwizra bin Afraa attacked Abu Jahl, as a result of which Abu Jahl fell to the ground but was still alive. Subsequently, Hazrat Abdullahra bin Mas‘ud severed his head from his body.”

When Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was sent by the Holy Prophetsa to find Abu Jahl among those who had been killed, it was then that Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud severed his head from his body.

According to a tradition of Sahih Muslim, the two sons of Afraa attacked Abu Jahl so ferociously that he died as a result. Similarly, in Bukhari, under the heading of the killing of Abu Jahl, it has been recorded in a similar manner. Imam Qurtabi expresses doubt that the two sons of Afraa killed Abu Jahl. He says that some narrators confused Mu‘azra bin Amr bin Jamuh. That is, instead of Mu‘azra bin Afraa, it was in fact Mu‘azra bin Amr bin Jamuh [who killed Abu Jahl], whom people considered to be Mu‘azra bin Afraa. He says that people have confused Mu‘azra bin Amr bin Jamuh with Mu‘azra bin Afraa.

Allama Ibn al-Jawzi says that Mu‘azra bin Jamuh was not from among the progeny of Afraa and that Mu‘azra bin Afraa was among those individuals, who killed Abu Jahl. Perhaps a brother or paternal uncle of Mu‘azra bin Afraa was present at that time, or only one of the sons of Afraa were mentioned, but the narrator may have mistakenly mentioned both sons.

Abu Umar states that the more reliable narration is that of Hazrat Anas bin Malikra, in which it is stated that Ibn Afraa killed Abu Jahl i.e. one of the sons of Afraa. Ibn Theen relates that there is a possibility that both Mu‘az’s – i.e. Mu‘azra bin Amr bin Jamu and Mu‘azra bin Afraa were brothers from the same mother, or that they were foster-brothers [who were weaned by the same wet-nurse]. Allamah Daudi has taken the two sons of Afraa to actually mean Sahl and Suhail and it is said that they were both Mu‘awwizra and Mu‘azra. (Umdatul Qari, Vol. 15, pp. 100-101, Darul Fikr, Beirut)

In any case, these are the various accounts in which it is either mentioned that three individuals killed [Abu Jahl] or two individuals and among them there is mention of Hazrat Mu’azra bin Harith.

Whilst describing the circumstances during the Battle of Badr and the incident regarding the killing of Abu Jahl, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes:

“Now, the field of battle was heated by bloodshed. Before the Muslims was a party three times their number, which had entered the field of battle, embellished with all kinds of military equipment, determined to erase all traces of Islam. The poor Muslims were fewer in number, lesser in equipment and struck by shocks of poverty and exile, and as far as apparent means were concerned, they were a prey of a few minutes before the people of Mecca. However, they had become intoxicated in the love of Divine Unity and Prophethood. Living faith is a power in comparison to which there is no greater power on the earth, and it had instilled within them a supernormal strength. At that time, in the field of battle, they were displaying an unparalleled example of service to the faith.

“Every man would step ahead further than the other, and seemed restless to offer his life for the sake of God. Hamzara, Alira and Zubairra cut down rank upon rank of the enemies. The passionate sincerity of the Ansarwas such that Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf relates:

‘When the war fully commenced, I looked to my right and left, but found two youngsters from the Ansar to both my sides. Upon seeing them, my heart sank, because in such wars, the outcome of battle greatly depends on the companions to the right and left. Only such a person can fight effectively, whose sides are secure.’

“Abdur Rahmanra adds:

‘I was still in this state of mind, when one of the two boys enquired of me in a whisper, as if to keep it secret from the other, (i.e. lest the boy on the other side should hear them) “O Uncle! Where is that Abu Jahl who would give grief to the Holy Prophetsa in Mecca? I have made an oath with God that I shall either kill him or die trying.” I had not yet responded when the other also whispered the same enquiry. Upon witnessing their courage, I was stunned because Abu Jahl was the general of the army and he was surrounded by veteran warriors. I pointed to him saying, “That is Abu Jahl.”’

Abdur Rahmanra states:

‘I had only to make an indication, when both children sprung forward like hawks and cutting through the enemy ranks reached there in an instant. They executed an assault so swiftly, that Abu Jahl and his comrades were left dumbstruck, and Abu Jahl was mixed to dust.’

“Ikramah bin Abi Jahl also accompanied his father. Although he was unable to save his father, he managed to strike Mu‘azra from behind in such a manner, that his left arm was cut and began to dangle. Mu‘azra pursued Ikramah, but he escaped. Since a semi-attached arm was a hindrance in battle, Mu‘azra tore it forcefully from his body and continued to fight.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 362)

Whilst relating this incident, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra states:

“Abu Jahl was that individual, at the birth of whom camels were slaughtered for weeks and the meat distributed among the people; at the birth of whom Mecca was echoing with the sound of tambourines.”

In other words, on the news of his birth, the people of Mecca were rejoicing with the sound of drums and other musical instruments. He further writes:

“When he was killed during the Battle of Badr, it was two fifteen-year-old youngsters of the Ansar who wounded him. Hazrat Abdullahra bin Mas‘ud relates, ‘When the people were returning from the battle, I went to see those injured in combat.’ He too was from Mecca so Abu Jahl would have recognised him instantly. He states, ‘I was walking in the battlefield when all of a sudden, I saw Abu Jahl injured and was groaning with pain. When I approached him, he said to me, “It does not seem as if I will survive this, my injury has taken a turn for the worst. Seeing as you are also a Meccan, it is my wish that you kill me to put an end to my suffering. But as you are aware, I am an Arab chief and it is an Arab custom to cut the neck in a manner that it would be prominent as this is the sign of a slain chief. So I want you to cut my neck in this manner.”’ Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘udra continues, ‘I cut his neck in a manner that it was short (i.e. near to his chin) and said that even your last wish will not be fulfilled.’ Now in terms of their end, observe how humiliating the death of Abu Jahl was, whose head was always held high during his lifetime, but at the time of his death his neck was cut very short and even his final wish was left unfulfilled.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 7, p. 101)

Hazrat Rubayy bint Mu‘awwizra relates:

“My uncle Hazrat Mu‘azra bin Afraa handed me some fresh dates and sent me to the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa in turn gave me some jewellery which had been gifted to him by the governor of Bahrain.” In another narration Hazrat Rubayy bint Mu‘awwizra relates, “My uncle Hazrat Mu‘azra handed me a gift to take to the Holy Prophetsa and in return he gave me some jewellery which he had received from the governor of Bahrain.”

Allamah Ibn Athir writes, “The governor of Bahrain and other kings only started to send gifts to the Holy Prophetsa when Islam had spread and strengthened and after he had sent letters to these kings. He [the governor] too was among those who sent back letters and also gifts.” (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 5, p. 192, Mu’az bin al-Harith bin Rifa‘ah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003)

Hazrat Mu‘azra bin Harith married four times, the details of which are as follows:

Habibah bint Qais, with whom he had a son named Ubaidullah,

His second wife was Umme Harith bint Sabrah, with whom he had Harith, Auf, Salma, Umm-e-Abdillah and Ramlah. His third wife was Umm-e-Abdillah bint Numair with whom he had Ibrahim and Aisha. His fourth wife was Umm-e-Thabit Ramla bint Harith, with whom he had Sarah.” (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, pp. 373-374, Mu‘az bin al-Harith, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)

In his book, Usdul Ghabah, Allamah Ibn Athir has recorded several narrations with regard to the demise of Hazrat Mu‘azra. According to one of these narrations, Hazrat Mu‘azra was wounded in the Battle of Badr and passed away from his injuries after returning to Medina. In another narration, he lived up until the Khilafat of Hazrat Usmanra. According to yet another narration, he lived until the Khilafat of Hazrat Alira and he passed away during the Battle of Siffin, which took place between Hazrat Alira and Amir Mu‘awiyyahra in the year 36 AH/37 AH. Hazrat Mu‘azra fought alongside Hazrat Alira. (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 5, p. 191, Mu‘az bin al-Harith bin Rifa‘ah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003) (Al-Istiab, Vol. 3, pp. 1409-1410, Mu‘adh bin Afraa, Dar-ul-Jeel, Beirut)

In any case, there are different accounts with regard to his demise. If one analyses the accounts relating to his marriage and his children, it seems that he lived a long life, that is if these narrations are indeed regarding him. 

Now, after relating the accounts from the life of Hazat Mu‘azra, I shall speak about Respected Rana Naeem-Ul-Din Sahib, son of Feroz-ud-Din Munshi Sahib, who passed away on 9 April [2020]:

اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْہِ رَاجِعُوْنَ 

“To Allah do we belong and to Him shall we return.”

He had been unwell for quite some time and would frequently go to hospital for various ailments. The doctors would always say that these were his final moments, but God Almighty would send down His grace and he would recover. When he would regain his strength and be able to walk again, he would come to the mosque.

Nevertheless, the most recent ailment proved to be his final illness as a result of which he passed away. According to the official documentation, Rana Sahib was born in 1934, but according to other accounts, he was born in 1930 or 1932. In official documents it is recorded as 1934 so in accordance with this, he was 86 years of age. Ahmadiyyat was established in his family through his father, respected Feroz-ud-Din Sahib in 1906, when he took the Pledge of Allegiance of the Promised Messiahas through a letter. After the partition of India and Pakistan, their family migrated to Pakistan and initially settled in Lahore and then in 1948, they settled in Rabwah.

He then offered his services for the Furqan Battalion. After serving in the Furqan Battalion, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra sent Rana Sahib near Mirpur Khaas for work relating to land there, where he stayed for a few years.

He was a very long-standing member of the Wasiyyat scheme, having joined in 1951. He was married to Sara Parveen, who was the paternal granddaughter of Doulat Khan Sahib, a companion of the Promised Messiahas. According to the departmental register – the office order of Hifazat-e-Khaas [security staff]– on 3 August 1954, Rana Naeeem-Ul-Din Sahib was appointed as “reserve on-duty”. From November 1955 to 11 May 1959, he served as part of the Hifazat-e-Khaas as a security guard. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra would often go for several months to Jaaba, Nakhla to work on his commentary [of the Holy Quran]. The deceased also went and as there was no electricity, he had the responsibility of maintaining the diesel generator and also was responsible for security for the small vicinity they were residing in.

According to the records of Wasiyyat, he retired from Hifazat-e-Khaas staff in 1978 and moved to Harappa in the Sahiwal District, where he later served as caretaker of the Sahiwal mosque.

In October 1984, opponents [of Ahmadiyyat] attacked the Sahiwal mosque where he was on guard duty. As Rana Naeem-Ul-Din Sahib retaliated to the attack, he, along with ten others, had court cases lodged against them. Thus, from 26 October 1984 to March 1994 he had the blessing of being a prisoner in the way of Allah.

Rather than take any action against the attackers, the police instead implicated the eleven Ahmadis in court cases who were subsequently sentenced. This case was referred to a special military court during the era of Zia-ul-Haq. The court hearing formally commenced on 16 February 1985 and continued until 1 June 1985. There were initially 11 people in this case, but this later became seven. The case of Rana Naeem-Ul-Din Sahib was declared as “pending”. Two of the eleven went abroad and two were released. The case of the remaining seven was declared “pending”. Later the same special military court delivered a verdict of the death penalty for Rana Naeem-Ul-Din Sahib and Ilyas Munir Sahib, Murrabi-e-Silsilah [Missionary]. The other five were handed 25-year prison sentences. An appeal was made against these sentences and the Lahore High Court in March 1994 ordered their release. After the paperwork was completed, they were formally released on 19 March 1994.

As such these prisoners in the way of Allah were blessed to spend nine and a half years in jail. The opponents lodged an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court to acquit them. The court hearing began in May 2013 even though the two individuals were abroad and did not attend court and until today this case is pending.

During the period of imprisonment, he was tortured by the police and they tried to force a confession from him to say that as he was a bodyguard of the Khalifa and that he had been sent by the Khalifa to kill the Muslims. After being acquitted, Rana Naeem-Ul-Din Sahib moved to London in 1994. Here, he carried out his duties in Hifazat-e-Khaas far belying his age.

In 2010, his elder daughter passed away and a few days later, his wife too passed away. He then asked me about travelling to Pakistan. The circumstances made this seem difficult but nonetheless, I said to go but to return quickly. He travelled there for a few days and then returned. The deceased leaves behind in his family one son and four daughters. His son, Rana Waseem Ahmad is a life devotee [Waqf-e-Zindagi] who serves in the private secretary’s office here in the UK. All of the deceased’s daughters live in London. His son, Rana Waseem writes:

“Our father always taught us to remain closely attached with Khilafat and that everything was linked to Khilafat. He himself had immense love for Khilafat. He would say that whenever he would go for his duties, he would become invigorated and energised after seeing the Khilafa. He said the secret of his good health was that despite his age, he carried out his duties, otherwise he would just be in bed at home. He was very punctual with attending his duty on time, preparing himself two or three hours before schedule. When I would say to him, ‘Father, there is still plenty of time left’, he would reply ‘So what? What will I do just sitting at home?’

“A doctor, Hasham has written on similar lines. He was astonished after reading through his [medical] records and observed that normally at this age and with such illnesses, a person stays at home or is sent to care homes, yet he is walking and going about like normal. Rana Sahib told this doctor as well that the secret to his health was that he would go for duty and stay in the blessed company of the Khalifa of the time.”

His son, Rana Sahib, further writes:

“I would often massage his legs. On one occasion, as I was massaging his legs and moved closer towards his knees, he let out a small sigh. I enquired as to the reason, but he replied that it was nothing. However, I insisted to know what the reason was, to which he replied that it was the result of the injuries sustained whilst he was in prison. He always showed patience and steadfastness.” When they mete out punishment in the prisons of Pakistan, they do it in the cruellest manner, but in any case, he endured all of this with patience “and continued to demonstrate an exemplary level of patience even after his release from prison. If ever he fell ill, he would not mention it to anyone and in fact, would often just say, ‘All praise is due to Allah! I am fine.’”

In relation to the standard of his obedience towards Khilafat, he further states:

“I would often ask my father to narrate various accounts. One day, I was sat with him and he told me that ‘when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra travelled to Nakhla, Jaaba to write his Tafsir [exegesis of the Holy Quran], I also had the opportunity to accompany him’” as mentioned previously that he would stay there “‘and owing to something I had done, Huzoorra became unhappy with me. (Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra expressed his displeasure at Rana Naeem-ul-Din Sahib). Huzoorra instructed me to go to the mosque and recite istighfar [seek forgiveness from Allah]. I thus went to the mosque – and the mosque in Jaaba at the time was made of mud brick and had a small open courtyard. I sat in the courtyard of the mosque and began to recite istighfar when all of a sudden, a powerful storm broke out and it began to rain heavily. However, I sat where I was and continued to remain engaged in reciting Istighfar. Quite some time had passed and one of the canopies of the mosque also blew off. Huzoorra, i.e. Khalifatul Masih IIra, enquired, “Where is Naeem?” A few people came out in search of me and eventually arrived at the mosque and informed me that Huzoor was calling me. When I presented myself before Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, he stated, “I knew you would be sat there. I have forgiven you now, therefore you can go.”’”

His son further writes in relation to this:

“When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra began writing his Tafsir, my father had the opportunity to stay close and serve him. He would always express his great joy at this opportunity. It was his habit that he would always share his news of happiness with everyone, but would never tell anyone about any news of sorrow or grief.”

Describing his qualities, he further writes:

“He was an exceptionally compassionate father and a sincere friend. When my Waqf [life devotion] was accepted, he one day said to me that this was a huge responsibility and that I should fulfil this Waqf whilst always seeking repentance and forgiveness from God Almighty. He advised that if ever anyone caused me pain, I should remain silent and not enter into an argument and instead, leave the affair in the hands of Allah and always remain patient for Allah the Almighty is with those who demonstrate patience. He would always impart advice like a friend.”

He then further states:

“He would always treat my wife (i.e. the daughter-in-law of Rana Sahib) like a close friend, in fact, even closer than one’s own daughters. He also once told me that he had the opportunity to stand guard at the residence of Hazrat Amma Janra in Rabwah. When he entered the scheme of Al-Wasiyyat, he would also encourage his family relatives to also take part in this. He was very regular in paying his Chanda (financial sacrifice) and he would pay his Chanda on the first of every month and only after that would he spend his money on anything else. He would always discretely help others and would never mention it to anyone.”

His daughters write that their father had such immense love for Khilafat that one would be truly left in envy of it. The love for Khilafat was imbued in every grain of his existence and whenever there was mention of the Khalifa of the time, his eyes would well up.

In regard to the respect he showed towards his superiors, one of his daughters writes:

“On one occasion, all of us sisters, along with our father, were sat in the private secretary office waiting to go inside for our mulaqat when suddenly we noticed our father standing up alert as if he was on duty. We were surprised as to what had suddenly happened to him. When I slightly glanced to look up, I noticed that the Naib Afsar Hifazat [Deputy Head of Security] had entered into the office, either to attend to some work or for duty and out of respect for him, my father had stood up. Until he remained in the office, my father continuously remained stood and only sat down once he had left.”

She writes, “Although this incident just lasted for a few minutes, however it carried many lessons for us. Throughout his entire life, he would always advise us that if we wanted to attain any success in life then we ought to attach ourselves with Khilafat like a metal sticks to a magnet.”

She further writes, “A few days prior to his demise, our father gave Eid gifts to all us sisters and our brother and also his wife. We said to our father that the month of Ramadan had not even started yet, however he said that one cannot guarantee anything about the future, thus one should not delay in fulfilling their obligations.”

Hence, he gave his children Eid gifts a few days prior to his demise.

His daughter-in-law writes:

“He would take great care of me and would always advise me like a father. When my father passed away, he told me and my husband to immediately go to Pakistan and attend the funeral.”

His daughter-in-law further writes:

“Whenever I would wake up in the night, I would always see him offering prayers. He had an unbounding love for Khilafat (almost everyone has written about his relationship of great loyalty with Khilafat). He would often say that it was owing to the prayers of the Khalifa that he had the opportunity to serve term in prison [due to his faith] and it was owing to the prayers of the Khalifa that he was here. He would also say that due to the prayers of the Khalifa, no one ever knows of what happened to the president of the country who signed the documents for our death sentence, but he (i.e. Rana Sahib) appeared before the world as a living sign.”

One of his daughters, Abida, writes:

“He would always advise our children to form a strong bond with God and Khilafat and would tell them that all their success was dependent upon this. He would always encourage us to recite the Holy Quran and was regular in offering his Tahajjud prayer.”

She further writes:

“I have never seen in my entire life that he ever missed the Tahajjud prayer; he indeed prayed profusely for us. He was very hospitable and would always look after his less affluent relatives. Rana Sahib continued to regularly pay the Chanda on behalf of his parents and wife after their demise.”

She further states, “I would often hear him loudly reciting the following couplet:

My Lord! Be it a grace bestowed by Thee or an affliction; content we shall remain with Thy Divine will.”

She further writes:

“After the demise of our mother, he took even greater care of all us sisters and treated his daughter-in-law more than even one’s own daughter. Whenever he brought something or when giving an Eid gift, he would always give it to his daughter-in-law first and then to us. He would always say that ‘we have brought someone else’s daughter into our house, therefore we ought to take even greater care of her as I will be held accountable before my God.’”

Another daughter writes:

“Indeed, the time he spent in prison was endured whilst showing contentment at the will of the Almighty God, love for his faith and Khilafat. Let alone a complaint, we did not hear even the slightest expression of discontent. He always offered his prayers and Tahajjud on time. Even during his illness, he would never miss the prayer. Due to the torture he suffered in prison, he developed problems in his kidneys which intensified in the latter stages of his life and he also had breathing problems. However, we never heard any such words uttered by him of anguish or despair. He would say, ‘All praise is due to Allah’ and nothing else.”

Another daughter states that he took so much care of them that he once told them that he was now 86-87 years of age and did not know anything about the future as to whether he would be alive or would pass away. Therefore, upon his demise, he should be taken to Pakistan. Moreover, he told his daughters that he had kept money aside for their tickets, so that when it comes to taking his funeral, they would not need to ask from their husbands and they would instead take their father’s funeral with the money provided by him.

Due to the current situation, it was not possible for the funeral to be taken [to Pakistan], hence he has been buried here temporarily and whenever it is possible, then we shall – God Willing – arrange for it to be taken in accordance to his wishes.

One of his nephews, Rana Shabeer, who serves in the Tahir Heart [Hospital] in Rabwah, states:

“During the years of his imprisonment, I had numerous opportunities to go and visit Rana Sahib. Whenever we would go to the prison to give him some provisions, we would become extremely anxious, however he would always advise us to show patience and to pray. He was an extremely noble individual and always exhibited patience.”

Similarly, his niece from his brother’s side, writes:

“Up to 1980, he resided in the compounds of Qasr-e-Khilafat and when we used to go for the Jalsa, some non-Ahmadi families would also come with us.” This is his wife’s niece, Rubina Sahib. “Our uncle [Rana Sahib] always used to say to his wife that guests should be looked after well and they should not experience any discomfort in their food or sleeping arrangements. If there was shortage of space, he would take his children and sleep in the store or kitchen and would let the guests sleep in better arrangements such as the rooms or in the veranda.

He would say, “These are guests of the Promised Messiahas and they should not suffer any sort of discomfort.”

One of his nephews says that when he visited him in prison and enquired about him and also about the incident that took place, he replied in a passionate manner, “Son, you must always safeguard the [honour of the] Kalima [Muslim declaration of faith], even if it means sacrificing your life in the process.” His nephew writes, “I felt as if these were not the words of a man, rather it sounded like the voice of an angel. He was an incredibly courageous and brave Ahmadi Muslim who always upheld the sanctity of the Kalima and had great reverence for Khilafat.” He further writes, “When I moved to London from Belgium, he advised me saying, ‘Ensure that you remain attached to Khilafat. Since you have moved here because of Khilafat, if you do not listen and respond to every directive issued by the Khalifa, then your coming here will be of no benefit.’ He also said, ‘Make sure you are regular in your prayers, and whenever you face any difficulty, instead of becoming worried and anxious, always turn towards God Almighty.’ He was greatly averse to lying and hypocrisy. He would always show great diligence towards performing his duty. Whenever he would feel unwell and his family would advise him to stay at home to rest, he would refuse and say that he is feeling fine, and that as he has been granted an opportunity to serve in his advanced age, these days are a bonus for him.”

Ilyas Munir Sahib, who was in prison alongside Rana Sahib, writes:

“I spent a significant part of my life with Rana Sahib, and now, I was unable to see him in his final days, which has left me very anxious. I was in prison with the late Rana Sahib for ten years. I did not see him lose hope for even one moment during this time, to the extent that when the death penalty was unjustly issued by the military dictator, he listened to the directive in a cheerful manner. He had a large family and all his children were young. Although he did not have a steady income, he had incredible trust in God Almighty. He had a passion to serve the faith and was concerned only to uphold the honour of the Jamaat. Whenever he was worried, he would say, ‘Their intentions are dangerous. Only Allah the Almighty can safeguard us from them.’ God Almighty ensured his affairs were in order, and all his daughters were married during the time he was imprisoned.”

Ilyas Munir Sahib says that he would never forget the incident which took place when rioters attacked the mosque and began to defame the Kalima Tayyiba [Muslim declaration of faith], verses of the Holy Quran and ahadith. Describing this incident, he says:

“It was the first time I had heard him speak in a thunderous tone when he challenged them [i.e. the rioters] saying: ‘Who are you to erase the Kalima? Who are you to erase the Kalima?’” He further writes, “Up until then, I had never heard him speak Urdu, yet at that time he spoke in Urdu and spoke in a thunderous manner. He alone compelled the 30 or 40 attackers to first hide in one side of the mosque and then made them flee.” He further writes, “Not only did he carry this out resolutely, but when the police officer enquired as to who opened fire, he did not hesitate for even a moment and stepped forward saying that it was him who opened fire. Subsequently he was subjected to severe cruelties and they tried their utmost to compel him to say that he carried this out on the orders of the Jamaat’s office bearers. However, it was truly remarkable to see that brave hearted individual who did not even allow an iota of blame to fall on the Jamaat. In reality, the office bearers did not know that he owned a gun. Furthermore, he never succumbed to the pressure of the court, even though it was a special military court. Both verbally as well as in written statements, he courageously and with a clear conscious accepted that he was the one who opened fire. It was this bravery and valour, honesty and passion to serve the faith that God Almighty granted him success and honour, and thus was able to serve Khilafat until the very end.”

Ilyas Munir Sahib further writes, “During our imprisonment, Rana Sahib’s father would send them letters and the Sermon of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh.”

Since MTA had not yet been established in those days, they would receive a written script of the Friday Sermon, which Rana Sahib’s father would bring to them.

“Rana Sahib would sit me down and say to read out the sermon. The prisoners on death row would be kept in separate cells but would be allowed out for a short while. During the time they were allowed out, he would dedicate that time to listening to the Friday Sermon and he would do so with great regularity.”

He then writes, “Whenever possible, he would ensure that we offered the prayers in congregation. In fact, whenever possible, he would call the other Ahmadis in prison to join us [for prayers].”

With regard to Ramadan, Ilyas Sahib writes, “During our time in prison, we observed Ramadan in the intense months of May, June and July. Despite his advanced age and the hardships of prison, he would fast the entire month of Ramadan.” He further writes, “He displayed extraordinary resolve and patience and happily faced every situation. When the death penalty verdict was pronounced, he showed immense courage and resolve, and this was something that was felt by others as well.” He writes, “When the death penalty verdict was issued with the signature of the president, one prison warden came to Rana Naeem-Ul-Din Sahib, who was older in age than him and said, ‘The Mirzais [a term used by non-Ahmadis to refer to Ahmadis] are very strange. They have been given the date of their death penalty and their end is near, yet they express no sign of concern. They do not worry in the least.’ Nonetheless, he began a lengthy discussion. Rana Sahib said that he understood that the warden did not know that he was an Ahmadi. Thus, when he finished speaking, Rana Sahib asked him: ‘Do you see any sign of concern in my expression?’ He replied in the negative. The warden was astounded upon discovering that Rana Sahib was also an Ahmadi.”

In the end, I will read a letter Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh sent to Rana Naeem-Ul-Din Sahib in September 1986. Part of the letter is as follows:

“I have received your sincere and heartfelt letters. You stand resolutely with unwavering faith, which is indeed greatly admirable. The chosen ones of God who wish to reach the highest ranks must first cross these difficult and testing paths. I greatly admire this opportunity that you have been blessed with. A tree is recognised by its fruits. You all are the flourishing branches and sweet fruit of the tree of the Promised Messiahas and Allah the Almighty will never forsake you. The Jamaat is praying for you, my prayers are also with you. I hope that you would have heard my most recent poem which is about my heartfelt prayers and sentiments for you and those members like you. May Allah the Almighty grant succour through His angels and save you from the grips of the enemy. May Allah be with you.” This was the letter Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh sent to Rana Sahib.

Mubarak Siddiqi Sahib writes, “I once asked Rana Sahib about his time in prison and the difficulties he faced. To this, Rana Sahib smiled and said, ‘We as Ahmadis have dedicated our lives to show obedience to Allah the Almighty, His Messengersa and the Khalifa of the time. Therefore, I have never thought of any hardship to be difficult. I remain content with the Will of God Almighty.”

Undoubtedly, he remained content with the Will of God until his last breath. Whenever I asked about his health, he always replied by saying “Alhamdolilah” [All praise belongs to Allah]. Whenever he spent time in hospital, he would return to duty the very next day and say that his health is fine, and at the same time he would offer prayers for me.

As mentioned earlier, one doctor said that those people who suffer from such ailments, in which their legs are swollen, are normally unable to leave the house, whereas he performs all his duties; this astonished the doctor.

Doctors may well be astonished by this, but what would they know that Rana Sahib had a deep love for Khilafat and this yearning to remain close would inspire him to come to the mosque to perform his duties. I always saw tranquillity and love for Khilafat emanate from him. May Allah the Almighty bestow His love and affection on him in the next life and grant him a place among His loved ones.

I have known him since childhood and as mentioned earlier, Rana Sahib would accompany Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra when he would go to Jaba Nakhla. In the summer, we would also go there for a few days. Even then, Rana Sahib would always treat us with great kindness and after becoming Khalifa, this relationship increased manifold. The incidents that we have heard about his loyalty and passion for Khilafat, were always visible in his character.

May Allah the Almighty enable his children to emulate the loyalty shown by their father and follow in his footsteps. Regrettably, owing to the current situation and restrictions by the government, I was unable to lead his funeral prayer. God-Willing, I will lead his funeral prayer in absentia in the future.

In the end, with regard to the current pandemic, I would like to say that some Ahmadis are also unwell; we ought to pray to Allah the Almighty to grant them complete recovery and also enable everyone to tread the paths of His pleasure. May He enable us to worship in the true sense and fulfil the rights due to mankind and swiftly alleviate the world of this pandemic. May Allah enable the world to see reason and recognise the One God; may they recognise His Unity and worship Him. May Allah shower His mercy on everyone.

(Original Urdu published in Al Fazl International, London, 8 May 2020, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions)

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