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
Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib, who had attained the rank of a martyr, spent a large part of five years performing various preaching duties in several countries, including Italy, Albania, and Egypt. After completing his extensive journey, he returned to Qadian on 14 March 1941.
In November 1942, the following year, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra directed Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib to depart for Nigeria. He boarded the ship named Talaawah from Mumbai, which was torpedoed during the voyage due to the ongoing World War II. This incident ultimately led to his martyrdom.
The following month, on 27 December 1944, during the Jalsa Salana, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra expressed his contentment with Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib’s preaching endeavours he performed in Europe.
Tribute by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra
Alluding to Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib, Huzoorra explained that although he was not familiar with English and lacked prior experience, he set an excellent example during his time preaching in Europe, which is truly astonishing. Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib initially went to Albania, a country in the Balkans, to preach Islam Ahmadiyyat, and as a result, many people embraced Islam; however, opponents of the Jamaat filed complaints with the government, accusing him of corrupting the religion of Islam. Despite the fact that the government of Albania was Muslim, the Muslims there protested, and eventually, King Zog ordered Maulvi Sahib to be expelled from the country.
He was then made to leave the country escorted by the police, who caught him and left him at the border. After being expelled, he first began preaching in Greece and then moved on to Yugoslavia upon the instruction he received from Huzoorra via a letter. The border of Albania meets Yugoslavia.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra mentioned that he wrote to Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib and encouraged him to continue preaching. Through his efforts, some people even accepted Ahmadiyyat, including leaders of Muslims who were also representatives of Muslims in parliament. Subsequently, the government of Yugoslavia was alerted by the government of Albania, who then expelled Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib from the country. After that, he went to Italy, then Egypt, and finally returned to India. Later, when he was sent to West Africa, during his travels, the ship sank on the way there (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 8, p. 358).
Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib’s father was Hazrat Doctor Muhammad Ibrahimra, a companion of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah. Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was the middle son of his father and was fortunate enough to do waqf in 1936. Initially, his waqf was for three years.
Tribute by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh
Mentioning his incident of martyrdom, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh said:
While Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was travelling on a ship, it was targeted by a torpedo. As a result, he and the other passengers on the ship drowned. Therefore, Huzoorrh added, there was a person on that ship who sacrificed his life for the sake of God in the path of God, and his name shall always be written among the martyrs. As a result of this sacrifice, Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib received the martyrdom of drowning, and since his journey was undertaken in the way of Allah, he attained the reward of double martyrdom by giving his life in His cause. (Friday Sermon, 21 May 1999; Khutbat-e-Tahir Babat Shuhada, pp. 83-84)
Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib left behind his son, Jamal al-Din Sahib, who was born a few weeks after the martyrdom of his father.
Additional information about Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib can be found in the June 1963 issue of Al Furqan, on pages 10-11; in that same issue, a photo of him is also published, in which he is dressed in Arab attire. Furthermore, on page 9 of the same issue is a poem paying tribute to him, authored by Hazrat Qazi Muhammad Zahooruddin Akmalra.
An account by Maulvi Sahib’s brother
Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was the maternal uncle of Abul Ata Sahib, the editor of Al Furqan. His brother, Malik Muhammad Mustaqim Sahib Advocate, wrote that Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was the son of Hazrat Doctor Muhammad Ibrahimra of Sarrowa, District Hoshiarpur, who was a companion of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and his younger brother. On the initiative of his nephew, Maulana Abul Ata Sahib, he was admitted to the Madrasa-e-Ahmadiyya Qadian for religious education, where he went on to obtain the Maulvi Fazil degree. In 1936, he dedicated himself to preaching and was sent to the Balkan states of Albania for three years to preach Islam Ahmadiyyat in Europe.
There, his brother writes, Maulvi Sahib stayed at a hotel in Tirana, the capital of Albania, and started preaching Islam. It was during the time of Shah Ahmet Zogu, whose ancestors were Muslims; however, the Shah himself had been heavily influenced by Western civilization. In a period of about six to seven months, the so-called Muslim scholars of the country considered Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib a danger and complained to the government, leading to his expulsion within twenty-four hours. Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib then went to Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia, where he succeeded in introducing Ahmadiyya to a respectable family. Due to the influence of this family, it became easier for him to preach. He had two books of the Promised Messiahas translated into the local language and started selling them. Through individual meetings, he introduced Islam Ahmadiyya to various other people of different classes.
Gradually, Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib’s preaching efforts went beyond the city limits of Belgrade, and he planned to leave the city. He requested permission from the government; however, during this time, the papers for his expulsion from Albania were received. The Yugoslavian police removed him from their borders within 24 hours and took him to Albania, where he was left at the Greek border. A ship was departing from a Greek port for Italy, and to board the ship, Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib sold all his clothes and some other items to buy a ticket. In this way, he reached Rome.
Maulvi Muhammad Sharif Sahib, the preacher there at the time, welcomed Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib and informed Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra via letter about the circumstances.
Meanwhile, during that time, Italy suggested sending some Muslims to Hijaz for Hajj. Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was also blessed enough to be included and managed to enter the Holy Land long before the days of Hajj through Cairo, Egypt. He stayed in Mecca and spent the month of Ramadan there. After performing Hajj, he settled near Haram. However, two or three months later, someone reported to the government that Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was an Ahmadi and preaching Islam Ahmadiyyat. As a result, the police arrested and imprisoned him. With the mediation of the Indian Council, Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was eventually released and sent back to India.
During his 3 to 4 years of travel, Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib’s diet consisted of only a few morsels due to the poverty of the countries he travelled through. It had been a long time since he had eaten any spicy foods. Upon returning home, he ate everything with great gratitude. Gradually, his hunger returned, and he started eating the healthy amount of food required for his body to function properly.
His brother further writes that in the city of Ambala, Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib married Babu Abdul Ghani Sahib’s daughter, with whom he had a son named Jamal al-Din. In 1942, during the days of the war, Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib was again sent to Africa via Bombay. He was travelling on a ship called Tallawah when it was suddenly sunk by a torpedo on the night of 22 December 1942.
Maulvi Muhammaduddin Sahib lived his life in a simple and nomadic style, as he had had a great fondness for travelling since childhood. He studied medicine himself in connection with his father’s medical profession and gained fame as a physician after successfully treating an epileptic patient with honey in Europe. This increased his reputation and made preaching easier for him. (Al Furqan, June 1963, pp. 10-11)
A quote by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra
When one even attempts to fathom the sacrifices our pioneer missionaries made, one is startled as to how they managed to attain so much with the few they had. Indeed, it is as Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said:
“An honest introspection would reveal that we are incapable of achieving the things our community has succeeded in so far. How then are they being accomplished? We are incapable of realising these tasks and yet somehow our endeavours are always fulfilled. The only answer to this is that God Almighty carries them out Himself.” (A Mighty Sign from God, p. 8)