A series looking at pioneer missionaries and devotees of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat who gave precedence to faith over the world.
Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam
Nazir Ahmad Mubashar Sahib, who rendered invaluable services on the African continent under the guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, returned to Qadian on 7 January 1947, after spending over 10 years in the field, serving as a missionary.
It is mentioned in Silsila-e-Ahmadiyya that Nazir Ahmad Mubashar Sahib embarked on his journey to Africa when he was quite young. Prior to his departure, he was engaged to Amina Begum Sahiba, the eldest daughter of Mahmud Ahmad Sahib of Qadian. However, their wedding had not taken place when the need for a life devotee arose in Gold Coast. Upon presenting himself, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra selected Nazir Ahmad Mubashar Sahib for this mission, and he promptly departed for the field.
Eleven years had passed, during which Nazir Sahib neither returned nor pursued marriage. He made no such request for his return, either. Ultimately, it was Markaz itself that summoned him back. When he arrived, his hair had started to turn white, a testament to the passage of time. Finally, after 11 years, he got married on 16 February 1947.
Regarding the services, sacrifices, and challenges faced by Nazir Sahib in the field, we learn that during World War II, he served as the sole central missionary in Gold Coast (now Ghana), demonstrating unwavering dedication to his responsibilities. In addition to his other important duties, he diligently travelled to various locations to spread the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat. In the financial year of 1942-1943 alone, he visited an impressive 338 places, and during the year 1944-1945, he travelled to 309 villages, delivering various lectures.
Furthermore, we come across a series of challenges that the Jamaat faced when the Second World War broke out. Certain officers began to organise against Nazir Sahib, adding to the difficulties he already faced. One night, Nazir Sahib had a dream that hinted at an enemy causing trouble for the Jamaat. Immediately after sharing this dream with those around him, the police surrounded the mission house and conducted a thorough search. They alleged that Nazir Sahib, had been engaging in correspondence with Germany and that ammunition was hidden on the premises. However, when their search yielded no evidence, they left in embarrassment. It was later discovered that the superintendent and the district commissioner were behind this scheme. The district commissioner faced suspension, and although reinstated, he succumbed to a fatal bout of malaria, which caused his demise. The superintendent also faced significant hardship thereafter. Some, including his wife, remarked that since he had acted against the Ahmadiyya Mission, he, the superintendent, had been plagued with suffering.
It is recounted that Nazir Sahib, upon his arrival in Gold Coast as a preacher in 1937, was blessed by Allah to render significant services in this region for an extended period. Guided by the direction of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, he was entrusted with the task of training the Jamaat and teaching the Holy Quran, among various other duties. During that time, the Jamaat lacked sufficient resources to support the expenses of two preachers in Gold Coast. Initially, it was decided that the Gold Coast Jamaat would bear the expenses for another missionary. However, upon Nazir Sahib’s arrival, he soon came to know that the Gold Coast Jamaat was unable to bear these financial burdens.
Upon Nazir Sahib’s departure, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra advised him to also look into trade. In addition to his other responsibilities, he also ventured into the trading of sports equipment. He would dedicate his time from Asr to Maghrib sitting in a designated area of Darul Tabligh, engaging in business correspondence and buying and selling goods. This joint trade endeavour generated considerable resources, which allowed for a modest allocation towards his basic needs.
It should be remembered that after Nazir Sahib’s arrival, Nazir Ahmad Ali Sahib was handed charge of the mission and travelled to Sierra Leone in October 1937. Not being well-versed in the English language posed an additional challenge for Nazir Sahib. Despite this, he remained responsible at work and also conducted preaching tours.
Then, the entire country fell into a crisis as a significant portion of the population relied on the cocoa crop, which was exported. European cocoa-buying companies reached an agreement not to purchase the cocoa crop. Given that a substantial portion of the Jamaat comprised cultivators, this crisis had a profound impact on Jamaat donations and further constrained the mission’s resources. This dire situation persisted until the end of 1938.
During that period, the financial situation became so challenging that Nazir Sahib began utilising all the profits from his trade to support the Jamaat’s budget, resulting in the discontinuation of his business. As a consequence, he had to endure severe hardships, at times subsisting on bread with salt and pepper for several weeks or relying on local food like cassava. Necessities such as meat were scarce during these trying conditions. Meanwhile, in Sierra Leone, when Nazir Ahmad Ali Sahib learned about these circumstances, despite facing his own dire situation, he selflessly arranged to send half of his allowance to Nazir Sahib. (Silsila-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol.2, pp. 619-624)
Nazir Sahib commenced his return journey from Ghana on 14 September 1946 amidst a severe financial crisis. As a gesture of farewell, a large gathering of Ahmadis offered him fifty pounds for his travel expenses, which he initially declined; however, due to insistence from the Jamaat, he eventually accepted the money. The journey back was arduous, marked by several challenges. For many days, there was a scarcity of water along the way, and people carried muskets as a precautionary measure. Regrettably, Nazir Sahib’s musket was stolen, leaving him thirsty. Fortunately, a bottle of milk in his luggage proved to be a precious resource. The journey would commence at four in the evening and continue until 10 o’clock the following day, as travelling during the scorching heat became difficult.
After traversing through Togoland, Dhomi, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad, Nazir Sahib eventually arrived in Sudan. From there, he embarked on a ship that reached Jeddah on 31 October. His first stop was Mecca, where he performed hajj. Subsequently, he returned to Jeddah and awaited the departure of the ship. Due to financial constraints, he had to limit his meals to once a day.
The ship eventually arrived on 26 December; however, at the beginning of the journey, a storm raged in the sea, causing many passengers, including Nazir Sahib, to fall ill. Rumours of the ship sinking during the storm spread, adding to the apprehension. Nevertheless, the ship finally reached Karachi, albeit behind schedule. From there, he embarked on a train to Batala and subsequently arrived in Qadian on 7 January 1947. Many Ahmadis eagerly awaited his arrival and warmly received him. Hazrat Maulvi Syed Sarwar Shahra escorted him, seating him in Huzoor’sra car, and they proceeded to Dar-ul-Ziafat.
The following day, he had the opportunity to meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. During their meeting, he presented the money gifted by the Jamaat in Ghana. Huzoorra graciously entrusted the amount to Wakil-ut-Tabashir for the expenses of the Jamaat. On 13 January 1947, a reception was held by Madrasa-e-Ahmadiyya to honour Maulvi Sahib.
As one catches a glimpse into the lives of these remarkable and resilient pioneer missionaries, observing their profound sacrifices, enduring spirit, and unwavering love for Islam Ahmadiyyat, it becomes an irresistible urge to offer a prayer from the depths of one’s heart. May Allah accept their sacrifices.