Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Naib Amir and Missionary-in-Charge, UK
Certainly, it is not an easy task to attempt to write about the personality and the blessed life of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh. Allah the Exalted had bestowed His immense grace on Huzoorrh, blessing him with tremendous brilliance and a courteous nature. It is with some concern that one picks up their pen to write about Huzoorrh, wondering where to find fitting words that would do justice to such a personality.
Huzoor’srh is a great figure that history shall never forget. He possessed extraordinary stature and historic significance. His auspiciousness and blessed achievements shall continue to impress and enlighten the world for a long time. He came and brought incalculable blessings and grace with him.
He lived life to the fullest. The love of God was the sustenance of his soul; the love of the Holy Prophetsa was fused into his being. He was passionately committed to Islam and had deep adoration for the Holy Quran. His persona bore luminous imprints of the blessed lives of the Holy Prophetsa and the Promised Messiahas. He was a glorious commander of Islam who served Islam Ahmadiyyat, sacrificing his entire being in its service and propagation. He spent his days and nights enlightening the world with knowledge and erudition, thus being an illuminating source of guidance. He was magnanimous in his love for everyone.
Thus, spending his days and nights serving Islam and dedicating each and every particle of his being to this sacred cause, this chosen man of God, blessed with the eternal treasure of nafs-e-mutmainnah (a soul at rest), met his Maker. His affectionate memories are indeed unforgettable. It would never be possible to chronicle his services satisfactorily, and the sphere of the worthy inferences of his beneficence will continue to expand.
Although he has physically departed from this world, his eternal spiritual life endures through his great achievements. With reference to his magnificent, historic services and their lasting global impact, his name shall live on forever. His love will continue to reside in the hearts of those who love him, and he shall be remembered indefinitely.
Huzoor’srh migration and impactful leadership
Huzoorrh migrated to Britain from Pakistan in 1984, arriving in London on 30 April 1984, and met his Creator on 19 April 2003. The period of migration was, therefore, nineteen years. With Allah’s immense grace and blessing, I had the opportunity to serve my beloved Huzoorrh closely throughout this entire period with humble devotion. My very soul is filled with a profound sense of gratitude for this great favour of Allah. I lack the words to adequately thank Allah; I am tongue-tied with deep gratitude, and my pen lacks the capacity to articulate what my heart feels!
He will be remembered by generations to come until the end of time. To spend one’s life under the auspices of such a personality is such a privilege that worldly honours should be sacrificed for it! It was an additional favour of Allah that I was able to see Huzoorrh very closely. I observed his courtesy, was present at his majalis-e-irfan, and had the privilege to carry out tasks in compliance with Huzoor’srh instructions. I was always conscious of my deficiencies and lack of inclination, and many times I was acutely embarrassed by my weaknesses. However, how charming was the master that he always encompassed it all in his discretion, his consolation, and his delight! He was always loving and affectionate, overlooking each mistake and error and fondly appreciating each trivial endeavour and service.
Much has been written about Huzoor’srh life, services, and noble attributes, and this spiritually inspiring account will continue to stir hearts. I too wish to share with everyone what I saw, heard, and observed, for this faith-inspiring chronicle is our shared treasure. To begin with, I shall relate some assorted incidents; these are like flowers that have been picked in no particular order. Huzoor’srh life was indeed like a bouquet of flowers; rather, it was like a beautiful, enchanting garden that was always fragrant with his propriety and decorum.
Huzoor’srh entire life was spent in the shelter of Divine assistance. At every step, Allah provided succour and protection to Huzoorrh, guiding him through each difficult phase of his life. Perhaps the most challenging point in Huzoor’srh life was his migration from Pakistan to Britain. He embarked on the long journey from Rabwah to Karachi by road during extremely sensitive times when the enemy was actively searching, with spies stationed along the way. It was as if angels guarded him at each stage of this journey. Every danger was averted, and despite the enemy’s utmost efforts, they could not capture Huzoorrh. Not only did they fail to catch him, but the unaware enemy couldn’t even determine when Huzoorrh left Rabwah, which route he took, how and when he reached Karachi, and then, from Karachi airport, in his usual attire and using his own passport, he miraculously navigated the entire departure procedure without hindrance or challenge.
This is how, with Allah’s help, he reached his destination safely. The enemy, with all the worldly resources at its disposal, only learned about his departure from Pakistan when he had already reached London. This journey of Huzoorrh is reminiscent of the Holy Prophet’ssa migration to Medina. It was after learning about this extraordinary account of Divine assistance and discovering other astonishing narratives of Huzoor’srh life that a biographer, a Christian, chose to entitle the book “A Man of God.” Indeed, he was a great man of God, utterly devoted to the love of God, one who was beloved of God himself, and one who received Divine beneficence every step of the way.
Divinely orchestrated interview: Allah’s guidance in the media encounter
I shall now present an example of how Allah’s help and guidance were bestowed upon Huzoorrh on every occasion. When Huzoorrh first migrated to London, he did not have a regular private secretary. Allah granted this privilege to me, and for about one month, I was able to take instructions from Huzoorrh and implement them or have others implement them. About two days after Huzoor’srh arrival, a representative of the Urdu section of BBC World Service called and asked to interview Huzoorrh. I enquired about the duration of the interview, and he replied that their popular programme Sairbeen was 12 minutes long, and they could allocate three to four minutes of this time for Huzoor’srh interview.
I told him that this time length was highly inadequate, but he insisted on this duration. When I presented his request to Huzoorrh, his first question was about the duration of the interview. As soon as I told him, Huzoorrh instructed me to decline the offer and apologise. When the phone call came the next day, I made a suitable apology, to which he remained silent. I then added that although I had conveyed Huzoor’srh message to him, my personal opinion was that if they wished to interview Huzoorrh, they should, at the very least, allocate the full twelve minutes to Huzoorrh so that he could answer their questions in some detail.
I did add that this was my personal view, and perhaps they could consider it. In response, he reiterated that it was not possible for them to allocate more time. The next day, he called again and mentioned that, after further intensive consideration, they had decided that if Huzoorrh agreed to the interview, they would dedicate the complete twelve minutes, which is the entire duration of the programme Sairbeen, to him. I informed him that I would convey this message to Huzoorrh. When I relayed the message to Huzoorrh, he smiled with delight and expressed that he had thought it would be appropriate if they could provide this much time. An appointment was scheduled for him to visit the London Mosque the next day, and he arrived punctually.
The meeting took place in the library, which was adjacent to Huzoor’srh residence. Huzoorrh welcomed him with great cordiality, mentioning that he felt as though he knew the journalist in an unseen way since he had often heard his voice on the radio but was seeing him in person that day. After having tea, the reporter felt that although he had brought recording equipment, the library was not completely silent. So, he suggested that if Huzoorrh approved, he could visit the BBC studios, which would ensure better recording quality. Huzoorrh agreed without hesitation. Before departing, the reporter mentioned that he would like to share the questions he had in mind for the interview. Huzoorrh replied that he could do so if he wished and asked me to take note of the questions. In Huzoor’srh presence, the questions were provided, and I quickly recorded them. The interview was scheduled for the next day in the afternoon.
On the following day, I presented the neatly written questions to Huzoorrh, who briefly glanced at the paper and returned it to me. In the afternoon, as planned, Huzoorrh went to the BBC studios with a few khuddam. Among the BBC representatives were some Urdu-speaking Englishmen who greeted Huzoorrh. One of them introduced himself as the person in charge of the BBC Overseas Service and expressed a request: although Huzoorrh had come to give an Urdu interview, he asked if Huzoorrh would also be willing to provide an interview in English. Huzoorrh accepted this request and expressed his preference to conduct the English interview first. This interview was conducted off the cuff and lasted approximately 20 minutes.
Afterwards, Huzoorrh came to the Urdu Section and proceeded to the studios for the interview. In the studio, there was a large table with two microphones placed in the middle. Huzoorrh sat on one side, and the Urdu service interviewer sat on the other. A glass partition in the studio allowed us to sit behind it and observe the proceedings while listening. As the interview began, I was astonished because the first question asked was not among the questions that were given the day before and were still in my pocket. The second question was different as well, and so was the third. In short, all the questions asked during the interview were different from the ones provided the day before. I was quite amazed by this situation and a little worried, although I was most grateful to Allah for Huzoor’srh precise, specific, and forceful replies.
I recall one question along the lines of: “Why, if the government of Pakistan has legally declared you as non-Muslim, don’t you simply accept this?” Huzoorrh provided a detailed and powerful response, in which he also mentioned that this was akin to someone saying to a decent person that they considered him a dog instead of a man, and since he had now called him a dog, it was incumbent on that person to consider himself a dog and start barking. This fitting reply by Huzoorrh was received very positively in Pakistan. At the end of the interview, Huzoorrh took leave, and as he was leaving the studio, an Urdu-speaking English officer brought the interviewer’s attention to a question he had forgotten to ask. Apologising, he requested Huzoorrh to kindly return to the studio, and Huzoorrh obliged. Even this additional question was not among those provided the day before!
Before getting in the car to return home, Huzoorrh called me over and most graciously said, “Do you remember the questions he mentioned yesterday?” I replied in the affirmative and mentioned that I still had the paper in my pocket. Furthermore, I was amazed that he had not asked even one of those questions but had instead posed entirely new ones. Huzoorrh replied, “Exactly, that’s what happened. However, I am delighted that he asked me different questions. The fact is, I wanted him to ask me the very questions he did today. This has turned out very well indeed!”
I was amazed to hear this from Huzoorrh, pondering the extraordinary way in which Allah had provided His help and the interviewer had asked the exact questions that Huzoorrh had wanted him to ask. This is not the usual behaviour of press representatives; typically, they ask the pre-arranged questions, perhaps adding a question or two. This situation was exceptionally remarkable. As it was later revealed, it served to strengthen one’s faith, as behind this sudden change lay the focus of a man of God and Divine assistance.
A masterful response to an Arabic linguistic challenge
Allah had bestowed upon Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh extraordinary knowledge, discernment, and sagacity. He was a masterful and dynamic orator, and his speech and manner of delivery possessed a mesmerising quality. His highbrow writings and the thousands of question-and-answer sessions led by him testified to his vast erudition. Allah had endowed Huzoorrh with the skill to provide responses that would silence the objections of opponents in these assemblies. There were numerous instances of this great quality of his in the question-and-answer sessions. I shall relate one such example here.
A few years after Huzoor’srh arrival in Britain, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Society of Cambridge University invited Huzoorrh to give a lecture, which he graciously accepted. The lecture was entitled “Jesus Christ in the Holy Quran.” On the day of the event, Huzoorrh went to Cambridge with a few khuddam, including myself. Huzoorrh delivered a comprehensive and in-depth speech on this important subject in English, articulately detailing the Quranic statements about Jesusas. Towards the end of the speech, Huzoorrh also mentioned Jesusas escaping the crucifixion, migrating to Kashmir, and dying a natural death. He referred to verse 51 of Surah al-Mu’minun, inferring that the verse pertains to Jesusas and his mother, Maryamas, being given refuge in a safe place during a time of great danger.
After this eloquent and scholarly speech, the audience was invited to ask questions. Among the audience, a few Arab students seemed to have an air of confidence about their proficiency in the Arabic language, and their tone suggested that, since Arabic was their language, no non-Arab could have a better knowledge of the language than they did.
This is the nuance with which a young man stood up, not to ask a question but to make an objection. He argued that in the Arabic words: اٰوَیۡنٰہُمَاۤ (meaning that We rescued both of them) of the Quranic verse 23:51, Jesusas and Maryamas are not referred to. Instead, the reference is only made to Maryamas at the time when she was expecting Jesusas. He asserted that the verse referred to an event that took place long before the crucifixion, suggesting that the reference was about Maryamas moving from one hazardous place to another and that it was not a reference to the migration to Kashmir.
Huzoorrh dealt with this question in a most imposing and spirited manner. First, he disproved the objector by citing the historical perspective. Then, with reference to the idiom of the Arabic language, he explained that in Arabic, the term اٰوَیۡنٰہُمَاۤ is used for two people and not for a pregnant lady with a child. Huzoorrh stated with complete conviction and certainty that in Arabic, the plural tense is not used for a pregnant lady, and he challenged the objector by saying that Arab linguists would never use this phrase in such a context.
What a spectacle it was! There was this objector who, overconfident in his Arabic linguistic prowess, had insolently objected. However, a non-Arab man of God, with his reasoning, completely silenced the brash objector. This was a highly inspirational demonstration of the greatness of the theological scholarship presented by the Promised Messiahas and Huzoor’srh tremendous power of reasoning.
It did not end there. As the objector stood there dumbfounded, unable to say anything in his defence, Huzoorrh adopted another method to further reinforce his point. In the audience sat an Egyptian language expert, a sincere Ahmadi named Mustapha Thabit Sahib. Directly addressing him, Huzoorrh said, “You are Egyptian and an expert in the Arabic language. Please tell us, do Arabic scholars and linguists use the plural tense for a pregnant woman?” Mustapha Thabit Sahib stood up, and all eyes in the hall turned to him, wondering what the Egyptian scholar was going to say. Everyone believed that his testimony would strengthen Huzoor’srh forceful reasoning and prove the point. Mustapha Thabit Sahib gently replied, “Yes, Huzoorrh, Arabs do that.” This response stunned the audience, especially the Ahmadi attendees. They were astonished that an Arab scholar had given testimony contrary to Huzoor’srh stance. While everyone was still in a state of shock, Mustapha Thabit Sahib completed his reply after a pause, “…if they are ignorant and uninformed about Arabic.” A roar of laughter followed this reply, and the Ahmadis were greatly relieved. This most excellent and sagacious style of response certainly silenced the objector for the rest of the event.
The treasured bonds: Huzoor’srh unwavering love and affection
Huzoorrh was an embodiment of love and affection. This most beautiful aspect of his blessed nature was evident at every step of his entire life. Huzoorrh maintained such a bond of great love and affection with every member of the Jamaat that each Ahmadi is a living testament to this fact. There are hundreds and thousands of those who, in a way, had the opportunity to partake in this wealth of love, yet this treasure trove of love never diminished! This great love emanated from the love of God and was therefore abiding. Even today, when this beloved person has passed away, the memories of his love and affection are alive in our hearts. The fond memory brings tears to the eyes. Love begets love. Beloved Huzoor’srh love had filled the hearts of Ahmadis with love. The tears shed for his love are indeed a testimony to his tremendous love. Through his love and affection, this noble person shall indeed live forever!
Nowadays, Ahmadis are acutely aware of profound importance of personal mulaqats with Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa as they routinely meet Huzooraa to seek blessings and guidance. of the individual and family mulaqats in the UK heralded a period of remarkable spiritual enrichment. On the appointed day of the mulaqat, a sense of delight would begin early in the morning in the family’s home. Children would eagerly await the time of the mulaqat. Once the mulaqat was over, people would emerge elated, having gathered a deep sense of satisfaction and delight from the meeting. The memories of this encounter would then be cherished for a long time. Those few moments of the mulaqat would encompass a lifetime’s happiness. I have witnessed this spectacle numerous times myself, with people emerging from the mulaqat room, beaming with delight, tears of adoration and happiness rolling down their faces. The photographs taken during these mulaqats now adorn Ahmadi houses. Huzoor’srh love for everyone was so great and tremendous that each person genuinely felt as if they were the favoured one. I have tried to convey this sentiment as follows:
“His love is exclusively mine,” each person would imagine!
Such was his love that it dwelt in each and every heart!
This boundless sea of love certainly had no dearth of precious pearls! I shall relate one episode as an example. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat commemorated the completion of its first century with a great sense of gratitude to Allah amid an amazing spiritual ambience. The Jamaat issued various commemorative souvenirs for this occasion, including vibrant balloons with the Jubilee logo imprinted on them.
Once during those days, as Huzoorrh came out of the Fazl Mosque after the Asr prayer, he saw a little boy, around three years old, playfully hanging by the railings of the boundary wall, happily swinging. When Huzoorrh passed the boy, the boy waved and said “assalamu alaikum” to him. Huzoorrh replied to him, and as he came nearer, the little boy asked, “Huzoor, do you have a balloon?” Huzoorrh smiled, realising that this was not a question but rather a sweet request. Perhaps to see how the boy would react, Huzoorrh replied, “Yes, I do.” The boy came down from the railing and very casually asked, “Huzoor, can I have a balloon?” Huzoorrh said that he could. Upon this, the boy held Huzoor’srh hand and eagerly started walking with him. This was a most pleasing sight—an innocent little boy, having become the focus of his beloved master’s love and affection, walked with him to his office. Huzoorrh took the boy to his office, where he always kept a supply of chocolates in his desk drawer to give to children. Let me mention here that it was Huzoor’srh custom to give a gift of chocolates to all the children who came for mulaqat. Often, this would consist of two packets of chocolates. However, it was not just children who received chocolates from Huzoorrh; unmarried visitors also received them. This was Huzoor’srh unique interpretation. In his eyes, anyone who was not married was considered a child. Those young people who were about to be married would be affectionately told by Huzoorrh to receive their last gift of chocolates from him!
So, as Huzoorrh took the little boy to his office, he opened his desk drawer and gave the boy a balloon, which he eagerly accepted. Then, in his innocence, he made another request, “Huzoor, can you blow air into it?” One can only guess how much Huzoorrh must have enjoyed this spontaneity of the child. It was the marvel of Huzoor’srh love and affection that children could express these desires to their compassionate master in such a candid manner. Huzoorrh sent for some string and most graciously filled the balloon with air, tied it to the string, and handed the other end of the string to the child. As was his custom, Huzoorrh also gave the little boy some chocolates, which the boy held in his other hand. How fortunate was this little boy to emerge from Huzoor’srh office with packets of chocolate in one hand and a balloon in the other!
Gifts of warmth and love: Huzoor’srh compassion for Bosnian refugees
During the height of trouble in the Balkans, when severe brutality was taking place in Bosnia, and innocent Bosnians were forced to leave their motherland and seek refuge in other countries, a significant number of Bosnians came to Britain. Huzoorrh had urged prayers for them and had instructed that we should help the persecuted and victimised people as much as possible, purely out of a sense of human kindness and with no other motive. In compliance with this, Ahmadis worldwide provided full support and assistance to these persecuted people in their respective countries. With Allah’s grace, in Britain as well, Ahmadis were able to render great service in this regard.
The Luton Jamaat was at the forefront of this. Once, a member of this Jamaat brought a group of Bosnian friends to the Fazl Mosque. A special event was organised on this occasion, and a dinner was arranged for these distraught, honoured guests. They were given a tour of the Fazl Mosque. The concluding part of the event was the most significant: a mulaqat with Huzoorrh. The Bosnian group was all male, and they met with Huzoorrh in his office. Turn by turn, Huzoorrh embraced them all, warmly shook their hands, and generally made them feel welcome with great love and affection.
All of them sat on chairs facing Huzoorrh. These were early winter days, and some Bosnians were not adequately dressed for the weather. Many had visible injury marks on their arms and faces. Huzoorrh asked them about the persecution they had endured and encouraged them. He advised them never to forget their homeland, to uphold Islamic values, and to protect themselves from the ill effects of their surroundings. Huzoorrh told them that, no matter how dire their financial situation became, they should always give something in the way of Allah so that Allah may continue to bless them.
Huzoorrh counselled them in the most affectionate way, and they listened to him attentively. Huzoorrh suggested that the brothers should be given some monetary help. This was quickly arranged, and Huzoorrh handed them envelopes with cash gifts amidst his sincere prayers for them. Then he asked them to wait, saying that he would return shortly, and he left the room to go upstairs to his residence. I imagined that Huzoorrh had perhaps gone to get some sweetmeat or some other food. However, I did wonder why Huzoorrh had not sent any khadim for the task.
While I was still wondering, the door opened, and we all saw the most incredible sight! Huzoorrh entered the office carrying bundles of clothes. There were so many clothes that Huzoorrh could barely carry them in both his arms. With great affection, Huzoorrh then distributed these clothes among all the Bosnian brothers and asked them to put them on. They all immediately donned the clothes; some exchanged the clothes amongst themselves according to their sizes. Huzoorrh looked on most affectionately and was delighted that their needs were being fulfilled.
Huzoorrh once again got up and, saying he would return shortly, went upstairs again. After a while, when Huzoorrh returned, he was carrying a lot of clothes. Huzoorrh gave these clothes to those brothers. Apart from a few items, all these clothes were from Huzoor’srh personal wardrobe: woollen coats, sweaters, achkan (long coat), woollen hats, shirts, and new socks. As Huzoorrh gave all this away to the brothers, I looked on in amazement at the great good fortune of the Bosnians that they had received these new and barely used clothes in excellent condition from the blessed hands of Huzoorrh.
The faces of the Bosnian brothers were beaming with happiness at this moment, and Huzoor’srh face too had a glow of satisfaction and gratitude, as he was able to fulfil the needs of these disadvantaged brothers. The Bosnian brothers expressed their gratitude, but Huzoorrh simply did not want to hear any of it. This faith-inspiring sight that I beheld that day is imprinted on my mind forever. This gathering concluded in the most emotional manner. Huzoorrh once again embraced all of them and bid farewell to them with loving prayers.
I cannot help but mention one point here. It is as if this is a trust that I have held, and it is essential that I honour it now by relating it. That day, Huzoorrh gave his clothes to the brothers in such abundance that I believe his winter wardrobe would have been emptied. This impression of mine is corroborated by the fact that for about two months after that day, Huzoorrh wore the same achkan every day that he had worn on that day. The memory of this incident moves me to tears even today. Rahimahullahu Ta‘ala wa jazahullahu ahsan al-jaza.
The charismatic connection: Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV’srh global impact
Allah the Exalted granted Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh a charming personality. His life was replete with lofty ethics, and Allah had bestowed upon him so many qualities that whoever met with him would be enchanted by his charismatic personality. Meeting him once would draw one to his spiritually inspiring company time and again. Such was his captivating charm that people from within the Jamaat as well as from outside would be in awe of his personality.
The Ahmadis simply adored him; they were absorbed in passionate love for their beneficent master while being utterly devoted to him, and quite rightly so! For Allah had conferred on them an affectionate and prayerful master in the person of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, who would share all their sorrow and grief, and his encompassing love had become a part of their existence.
Among the attributes that Allah had bestowed upon this blessed person, was his sense of global communication. With His Perfect Power, Allah had invested Huzoorrh with the office of Khilafat at a time when means of communication had greatly advanced.
The Khalifa of the time is a nucleus for the entire Jamaat, and each member of the Jamaat wishes to be connected and linked to him like an extension. However, sometimes physical distances come in the way, and this connection becomes very limited and difficult. In the current era, Allah the Exalted has granted us exceptional expansion within these resources, and the Ahmadiyya Jamaat has fully benefited from these means of communication.
One way to communicate with the Khalifa of the age is through letters, and this practice has been prevalent from the beginning. During the fourth Khilafat, the Jamaat expanded extraordinarily in terms of numbers. Huzoorrh had made particular arrangements for each letter to be replied to individually in a personal and intimate style rather than in a formal way. He would try to reply to his letters in the same language in which they were written. For this, he had set up and organised a complete operational system.
Another facility that was rarely accessible beforehand was direct telephonic communication. The arrangement of mulaqats was so widespread that, in my observation, there was hardly an Ahmadi who came to see Huzoorrh and was not given the privilege of a mulaqat. Even during various other engagements, Huzoorrh would make an exception to the rule and graciously grant people the privilege of a mulaqat. Men, women, and children of the entire Jamaat abundantly partook of this beneficence.
In this era, the facility of communicating via fax also brought people from the Jamaat very close to Huzoorrh. When faced with grief or difficulty, an Ahmadi living in far-off corners of the earth would promptly request Huzoorrh for prayers via fax and would receive the blessing of Huzoor’srh prayer instantly. This facility to communicate with the Khalifa of the time is a great blessing of Allah that Ahmadis living far and wide are taking full advantage of.
Another feature of communication on a global scale was that after his migration from Pakistan to Britain, Huzoorrh toured various countries to an extent that is unparalleled in the history of Ahmadiyyat. In particular, around the centenary year of Ahmadiyyat, he toured all the major countries of the world. Thus, those helpless and powerless people who, due to financial and other restraints, could not present themselves to Huzoorrh, were granted the privilege of a mulaqat by Huzoor’srh visits to those countries.
Fortunate indeed were those eminent Ahmadis who have since passed away and those who had sacrificed their lives for Ahmadiyyat and are now buried in far-off countries, for even they were not deprived of a mulaqat with the Khalifa of the time. During these tours, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh graciously visited the graves of these valiant men and bestowed upon them his prayers. This occurred in Sierra Leone and in Mauritius. Enviable indeed are these esteemed individuals, for they were granted the nearness and the prayers of the Khalifa of the time even at their eternal resting places!
The greatest source of communication, indeed, was MTA, through which it was as if Huzoorrh graced each Ahmadi’s living room. Day and night, through sermons, question and answer sessions, and various other programmes, the blessed sound of Huzoor’srh voice could be heard in Ahmadi homes.
Young children, too, were deeply in love with this beloved master. Seeing his blessed face on TV, they would jump with joy. The closeness to Huzoorrh that the Ahmadis were granted through MTA is an incomparable experience and a great blessing of Allah. Reflecting on all this one can say with deep conviction that, out of His special munificence, Allah granted Hazrat Khalifatul Masih extraordinary means of global communication and maintaining close contact, and thus the entire Jamaat was privileged to gain amazing closeness to Khilafat.
The qualities of love, affection, appreciation, and encouragement were prominent in Huzoorrh. Hundreds of thousands of Ahmadis worldwide received the grace of these qualities from Huzoorrh and are today overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude at the memory of these incidents. This humble servant of Huzoorrh is also among those fortunate people who received this grace.
The divinity debate and Huzoor’srh guidance
Perhaps it was in 1987 when I engaged in a debate with Christian priests on the supposed divinity of Jesus. The situation arose during a question-and-answer session with Huzoorrh when a Christian friend posed several questions to Huzoorrh. Huzoorrh provided detailed responses, and I recall that a significant portion of the assembly’s time was dedicated to addressing this specific Christian friend’s inquiries. Towards the end, the questioner adopted an argumentative tone. At this point, Huzoorrh explained that it was not the appropriate occasion for a debate and that he had answered the questions in principle. However, if the Christian friend desired further discussion, Huzoorrh, gesturing towards me, instructed him to contact me.
Later, when I discussed the matter with a friend, it evolved into a plan for a debate on the topic of the divinity of Jesus. I had kept Huzoorrh informed as the matter developed, and the discussions were guided by Huzoor’srh instructions. When the matter had progressed to the point where a debate was planned, Huzoorrh agreed but with certain conditions. I presented the conditions suggested by the Christian friend to Huzoorrh, and after reviewing them, Huzoorrh accepted all of them. This included the debate’s topic, the format of the speeches, the timing, the venue, and various other details. However, Huzoorrh insisted that the debate should not be presided over by a representative of the church but by a neutral dignitary. When the local mayor was approached, he readily accepted.
To keep the story concise, the debate took place in a Christian church with an audience divided equally between Ahmadis and Christians. The format included alternating speeches, followed by a session of questions and answers, and concluding with final speeches. All praise is due to Allah for His assistance, and the debate was successfully conducted. Before attending the debate, I had repeatedly requested Huzoorrh for prayers and upon my return, I submitted a brief report to Huzoorrh, which he expressed delight in. It seems that Huzoorrh had also received details about the debate from other members. The following day, while heading for Salat, Huzoorrh mentioned that I had not provided him with a video of the debate. I responded that I didn’t consider it worthy of being presented to Huzoorrh, to which he insisted that a copy of the video should be given to him.
I presented it to Huzoorrh on the same day. After a few days, Huzoorrh informed me that he had watched the video and requested copies to be made and sent to all African countries. I was deeply moved by this tremendous encouragement, appreciation, and approval. Additionally, during an assembly a few days later, while addressing Mustapha Thabit Sahib, Huzoorrh spoke very favourably about this debate and even drew some comparisons to my late father’s celebrated debate held in Egypt, which was later published as a book titled Cairo Debate. Alhamdulillah! Following Huzoor’srh instructions, the audio-video department dispatched videos of the debate to African countries. Some missionaries later informed me that they had greatly benefited from the video and found it very useful. All of this was made possible through the blessings of Huzoor’srh graciousness and kindness.
Time management excellence: The life and work of Huzoorrh
Huzoorrh was an extremely busy person. He made full use of his time and spent every single minute doing good, virtuous work.
Allah had informed the Promised Messiah in a revelation: “You are the revered Messiah whose time shall not be wasted.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p. 112) History bears witness that the Promised Messiahas indeed employed each moment of his life in tremendous service of faith. Based on my own observation, I can testify that, as far as being occupied and making excellent use of time is concerned, this was also the state of Huzoor’srh life. He had a specific schedule planned for each day. One could determine from this how occupied he would be on any given day.
His day would start very early with Tahajjud prayers, and the engagements carried on late into the evening, leaving very little time for rest. He had a passionate love for the service of faith, and this was his norm day and night. He had a practice of not even wasting a single moment. He once said, when he gets tired doing a particular task, his method of taking a break is to start another task. In this way, the body gets a break when the type of task is altered. Weariness is alleviated, but continuity of work continues. He also said that with Allah’s grace, he could manage three tasks simultaneously; for example, while taking tea, he would read the paper as well as watch TV, thus making complete use of time.
Once a reporter took a detailed interview with Huzoorrh, which was based on his daily engagements. When Huzoorrh detailed his daily schedule, the reporter was astonished at its elaborate nature, which spanned from early morning until late at night, packed full of work engagements. When this interview was published in the magazine (Sunday Times, 16 August 1989), they chose to alter the title of their regular column, in which Huzoor’srh details were printed from “A day in the life of…” to “A life in the day of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad.” With this apparently minor change of words, the newspaper made a most eloquent statement. The reality is that every single day of Huzoor’srh life was not only full of life but also enriched the lives of others.
I remember once explaining one feature of his engagements, Huzoorrh had said that he kept himself busy even during mulaqats by doing light work. For example, in the very brief time between one person leaving after mulaqat and another person coming in, he would sign letters. Another facet of Huzoor’srh active nature that I observed was that he would make full use of his time during journeys. Probably for this reason, he preferred to travel by road. Within Britain, he would always travel by road, as well as when travelling to Europe, whether it was a short journey or a long one.
In practice, as soon as the car left the Fazl Mosque, Huzoor’srh office would open in the car. He would start reading papers and magazines, as well as his post. He would give instructions regarding the letters as he read them, or he would make brief notes of replies himself. Even during the short journey between the Fazl Mosque and Islamabad, Tilford, he would keep himself busy in the car. Some members of the Jamaat would send their requests or poems recorded on audiotapes. Huzoorrh would listen to these tapes during his travels. In short, he would keep himself busy at all hours and would say that the best time is that which is spent in the service of faith and in doing something useful.
Huzoor’srh daily routine: Letters, books, and mulaqats
Huzoorrh would receive hundreds of letters every day, and he would read them all. He would write notes or instructions on each letter while personally replying to many of them. There are many fortunate members all over the world who received personal, hand-written letters from Huzoorrh. His routine was that the letters he intended to respond to personally would be kept to one side, and as soon as he got a small break between two engagements, he would pen them with his blessed hand.
Apart from books, Huzoorrh would scrupulously study important articles and newspaper clippings received from all over the world and would give necessary instructions. He would make a meticulous study of the newspapers and magazines published by the Jamaat and was always encouraging about them, as well as drawing attention to any amendments needed.
Another aspect of Huzoor’srh engagements was the series of mulaqats that would take place on a daily basis. There would be official mulaqats with those who worked in a variety of departments and organisations of the Jamaat. Then there would be mulaqats with visiting umara from various countries and other Jamaat workers. If required, these mulaqats would be extremely lengthy. There would also be mulaqats with people outside the Jamaat, and sometimes these would develop into extended question-and-answer sessions that would last for hours. Assorted journalists and media representatives would also be granted meetings with Huzoorrh. Family mulaqats with members of the Jamaat took place on a daily basis.
Usually, these mulaqats were allocated for the evening for the convenience of people. These mulaqats would typically be brief, but at times, they would also extend in duration. In the few minutes allocated to family mulaqats, Huzoorrh would converse with all the members of the family in one way or another and would make them so happy that when they came out after the mulaqat, their faces would be beaming with delight. At times, there would be tears of happiness and an overwhelming sense of self-assurance about their good fortune. In addition to this, worldwide communication was maintained via fax and telephone, and instructions were given day and night. This is just a mere glimpse of the official engagements that I have presented based on my observations. The truth of the matter is that Huzoor’srh engagements far exceeded all of this.
Huzoorrh appointments and literary marathons – A pen mightier than the sword
Huzoor would lead the five daily prayers at the mosque, prepare the Friday sermons, addresses, and messages, and participate in the MTA programmes, all of which he would do on a regular basis. Huzoorrh travelled to numerous countries around the world. During these travels, his engagements remained just as eventful. Individual as well as communal mulaqats, meetings with the press, question-and-answer sessions, speeches, and other religious engagements would go on day and night.
Allah had granted Huzoorrh extraordinary strength and courage. Despite this hectic schedule, he would always have an appealing smile and an attractive glow on his face. The more I reflect on the energetic and busy life of Huzoorrh, my amazement increases as to how alert and fresh Huzoorrh always appeared despite all these engagements. I am further amazed by the fact that concurrent with these heavy engagements, Huzoorrh continued with his writings and wrote many highly commendable, voluminous, and scholarly books. At times, a busy person finds it difficult to make time even to write a brief article. It is astonishing how Huzoorrh would make time for these erudite and research tasks: Urdu translation of the Holy Quran, a complete review of an English translation of the Holy Quran, the writing of the momentous book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge, and Truth, and a long list of various other scholarly and research books.
Those who have experience in writing can make a very good inference about how much time is spent on such distinguished scholarly writings and research work, as well as just how much hard work is needed. I believe that it is an extraordinary and miraculous accomplishment for the busiest person in the world to be able to write these books despite all his engagements. These books shall continue to be a blessing for all times, insha-Allah.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV’srh personality was a beautiful amalgamation of lofty ethics and noble virtues. Allah had granted him numerous qualities. His life is an all-encompassing episode that shall always remain glorious, and its faith-inspiring references shall continue to be mentioned, like a fragrance that spreads in all directions.
For the moment, I shall suffice with this brief note, and I pray that may Allah enable us to follow in the footsteps of this most blessed person and derive lessons from his virtuous example. Amin.