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
On 14 August 1923, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra composed and published an essay titled: بالشوویک علاقہ میں احمدیت کی تبلیغ (Propagation of Ahmadiyya in the Bolshevik Region). In the essay, after mentioning the preaching efforts of Fateh Muhammad Sahib and missionary Mian Muhammad Ameen Sahib, Huzoorra advised members of the Jamaat to bear the difficulties that come with propagating Islam Ahmadiyyat.
An incident from 1919 involving an Ahmadi in the English army
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra recounted an incident that took place in 1919. He explained that an Ahmadi, who was employed in the English army, went to Iran. From there, the army was ordered by the higher authorities to enter the territory of Russia to prevent the Bolshevik sedition and stayed there for some time. These events, Huzoorra explained, are not generally known to the public because the interests of that time required that the advance of the English troops in Russian territory be kept hidden. The name of this person, Huzoorra wrote, was Fateh Muhammad, and he held the rank of corporal in the army. Through his preaching efforts, he was able to convert another person with him to Ahmadiyyat while in the army. On one occasion, the new convert was sent with a few soldiers to a place some distance ahead of the camp to ascertain the movements of the Russian troops. Upon his return, he narrated what he witnessed to Fateh Muhammad Sahib, saying that they had gone to a dome-shaped building where some people lived outside the city.
A discovery of shared beliefs with people in a dome-shaped building
Further building on this incident, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra wrote that the new convert reported that upon reaching the dome-shaped building, they observed signs similar to those found in mosques, however, here, chairs were arranged inside. When the new convert inquired about this, the local people present explained that they were preachers and that Russians and Jews who came to visit them preferred not to sit on the ground. Therefore, chairs were provided and removed during prayer.
This man, the new convert, was curious about the people he encountered in the dome-shaped building and asked who they were. They responded by saying that they were Muslims. Thus, the new convert saw this as an opportunity to preach to them and asked if they believed Prophet Jesusas was alive in the heavens. The local people replied that he had passed away in the same manner as other prophets had. The new convert then asked about the second advent of the Messiah, and they confirmed that the Latter-Day Messiah was from this Ummah.
Upon hearing this, the new convert said that the teachings and beliefs of the people in the dome-shaped building were similar to the beliefs of a group held in India who followed Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian whom he had accepted. Upon sharing this observation with them, the people inside responded by stating that they too were followers of him.
Fateh Muhammad Sahib’s investigation in Russia Ashgabat and encounter with the Ahmadis
When Fateh Muhammad Sahib heard these things from his friend, the new convert, he felt a desire in his heart to investigate this matter by himself. Incidentally, after a few days, he was also ordered to go ahead, and he went to Russian Ashgabat. There, he inquired from the people whether there were any Ahmadis in the area. People flatly denied this. Fateh Muhammad Sahib then asked if there were people who believed that Prophet Jesusas passed away. In response, the local person replied, “I see, you are referring to the Sabians; they are here.”
The local person gave the address of a tailor who worked in a shop nearby. Thus, Fateh Muhammad Sahib paid him a visit. When he met the tailor, the tailor said they were indeed Muslims and the locals called them Sabians out of prejudice, just as the enemies of the Holy Prophetsa treated them.
When Fateh Muhammad Sahib asked the reason for the opposition, the tailor replied that they were opposed because they believed that Prophet Jesusas had passed away and that a person among the Muslim Ummah had been raised as the Promised Messiah, who was born in India. Hence, he said that this was the reason why people opposed them and considered them out of the pale of Islam. He added that in the beginning, they were subjected to severe hardships. False reports were given to the Russian government against them, labelling them as rebels, and many of their men were imprisoned. However, he added, upon further investigation, the Russian government found that they were not rebels but loyal to the government. He said that through their preaching efforts, they had brought many Christians and Jews to Islam, but few Muslims had believed. They were more busy opposing them, he added.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra recalls a prophecy of the Promised Messiahas
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra then narrated that when this person came to know that Fateh Muhammad Sahib also belonged to the same group, he was very happy.
The background to the conversion of these people, as narrated by the local Ahmadi, is that an Iranian went to India, where he found the books of the Promised Messiahas. After reading them, he believed in his message and began preaching to many people. Gradually, members of their jamaat continued to grow.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra explained that Fateh Muhammad Sahib had written about these circumstances and sent them to him. As it had been a long time, Huzoorra couldn’t recall if the events were in the same order, but he remembered the essence of the story.
Huzoorra expressed that when he received this news in his letter, there was no end to his joy. Huzoorra explained that he understood that the following prophecy of the Promised Messiahas was being fulfilled:
“January 30, 1903
“The same night I saw in a dream as if the sceptre of the Czar of Russia was in my hand and hidden inside it was the barrel of a gun and thus it served two purposes. Then I saw that the bow of the king who reigned at the time of Bu ‘Ali Sina [Avicenna] was in my hand and I had shot an arrow at a tiger. It appears as if Bu ‘Ali Sina and the king were also with me. [Notebook of the revelations of the Promised Messiahas, p. 4]” (Tadhkirah: English rendering of the divine revelations, dreams and visions vouchsafed to Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, The Promised Messiah and Mahdi, on whom be peace, p. 261)
The passing of Fateh Muhammad and the sending of Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra expressed that he had a deep desire to write to Fateh Muhammad Sahib to conduct further research on the jamaat there. Unfortunately, Huzoorra explained that he received devastating news from Fateh Muhammad Sahib’s relatives that he had passed away due to a bullet wound sustained on the battlefield.
Huzoorra expressed that the news of Fateh Muhammad Sahib’s passing had shattered his hopes, and as a result, his plans had to be postponed. Nevertheless, his desire to obtain information about the area persisted and grew stronger in his heart. By the end of 1921, Huzoorra made the decision to acquire information about the area through any means possible.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra stated that at that time, a significant challenge emerged due to a strained relationship between the English and Russian governments. There was a strong suspicion between the two, leading to a difficulty that seemed insurmountable. However, Huzoorra was resolute in his determination to push forward with his plans. He selected Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib, a man who had devoted his life to the cause of Islam, to undertake the task despite being aware of the difficulties involved. Huzoorra informed him that he would not be able to provide any financial assistance, and Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib willingly agreed to the task and commenced immediately.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra explained that on the day Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib set out, it was extremely cold, and he had to travel by rail to Quetta, passing through snowy areas. Despite enduring these harsh conditions, Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib made it to Iran within two months, even though he did not have enough supplies with him. From there, he left for Russia to continue his mission.
Huzoorra shared that he had received a letter from Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib in March 1922, but had not received any communication from him thereafter. However, on 9 August, of the same year, Huzoorra finally received a response, which contained some good news. As per the contents of the letter, the Ahmadiyya Jamaat had developed in the country.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’s call for sincerity and sacrifice
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra shared that Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib had written briefly about the sensational situations he had encountered after entering Russian territory. Despite the brevity of the writing, there was enough detail for someone with vision to understand. Huzoorra expressed his desire that other brothers could benefit from Mian Muhammad Amin Sahib’s experiences and grow in their sincerity, and be prepared for every kind of sacrifice for Islam. Huzoorra emphasised that true success lies in subduing one’s ego in the path of God.
This entire episode demonstrates how the pioneer missionaries of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat displayed an incredible amount of passion by leaving their homeland and entering unfamiliar areas to spread the teachings of Islam. These resilient souls faced various challenges, including language barriers, cultural differences, and even danger to their lives. However, as history testifies, their unwavering commitment to Islam and Khalifatul Masih enabled them to attain remarkable feats in new lands and introduce Ahmadiyya to people who might have otherwise never encountered them. Indeed, their legacy continues to inspire people to this day.