Written in Urdu by Hazrat Mir Muhammad Ismailra – brother-in-law of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – and published in Al Fazl on 13 June 1944
After a while, I told Ghufran, “I have seen many examples of the forgiveness of Allah. But what I see here is like an ocean with no end in sight. I am a little tired. Can you please take me back?” So we started making our way back, but Ghufran, considering my tiredness, wanted to keep me occupied. He informed me about some general rules and reasons for forgiveness. So, I will mention them here briefly:
A few reasons of forgiveness
1. No one will enter paradise due to the strength of their own actions, no matter how good their actions might be. It is only Allah’s grace and compassion which results in a person’s salvation
2. The second rule is that Allah is very appreciative and rewards every action manifold
3. Allah is the Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful, of His Own will. He may forgive someone without any judgment, while someone may have an easy judgment and another may be called to full account
4. Allah’s mercy always overpowers his wrath
5. Every punishment of Allah is based on wisdom and leads to reformation and is not based on personal anger or displeasure. Even hell is an abode for rehabilitation and is temporary and not permanent
6. No one can forgive any sins of another person. Forgiveness of sins is exclusively God’s prerogative.
اِنّهٗ لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ
[Verily, no one can forgive sins, save Allah]
7. There is no cruelty in God’s judgment. There is either compassion, justice or appropriate punishment
8. Every good deed is rewarded manifold, whereas the punishment of each sin is equal to its measure. If a person only thinks about doing a good, they get the reward for it, but if a person thinks about doing an evil, then there is no punishment for it, rather, if he stops himself from the evil he planned to do, there is reward for that as well
9. Istighfar [prayer for Allah’s forgiveness] is readily accepted by Allah
10. If a person prays for someone else’s forgiveness, this prayer is considered for both the one praying and the one prayed for. In reality, praying for the deceased is one of the best gifts we can offer them
11. The Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful God has appointed numerous angels in each and every corner of both worlds and there is a very respected and close group of angels around His throne whose sole job is to pray for the forgiveness of His servants. God does not shy away from even forgiving the shortcomings of a believer whose sins are high like a mountain or even reach the sky. Everyday, infinite sins of mankind are forgiven by the Most Gracious, Most Forgiving God without any reason
12. On the Day of Judgment, prophets, especially the Holy Prophetsa – the Chief of all Prophets – as well as other holy and chosen people, will intercede on behalf of the believers, with the permission of God, and countless creation of God will be forgiven by their intercession. Not only these chosen ones, but even the Holy Quran and its chapters will intercede on behalf of servants. Many people will be forgiven due to such intercessions
13. Finally, the Most Forgiving and Merciful God will extend His hands into hell and say, “All the intercessors have interceded. Now the Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate, Most Loving will intercede”, i.e. God Himself. All the sinners will be removed from hell and the doors of hell will shake with the soft breeze of God’s mercy – no one will be left therein. Even the Pharaoh and Abu Jahl will be brought into the mantle of Allah’s forgiveness. Hell would keep its prisoners only until their reformation is complete. This is indicated by the Holy Prophetsa as well that:
حَتّٰی اِذَا هَذَّبُوْا وَاتَّقُوْا
that as soon as manners and righteousness are achieved by them and they are capable of living peacefully among the people of paradise, with high morals and virtue, they will be sent towards paradise. And severe punishments are given to the people of harsh and extreme natures
14. Some people are in doubt that if God is Ever Merciful, more compassionate than one’s parents, then why would He place people in hell? The answer to this is that hell is for those who associate partners with Allah and transgress and rebel without any care and are among the worst enemies of God and His Messengersa in the world. Even parents become apathetic and get sick of their children when they become openly rebellious and transgressors.
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُعَذِّبُ مِنْ عِبَادِهٖ اِلَّا الْمَارِدِ الْمُتَمَرِّدَ الَّذِي يَتَمَرَّدُ عَلَى اللّٰهِ وَاَبَی اَنْ يَّقُوْلَ لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ
“Allah does not punish any of His slaves except those who are defiant and rebellious, who rebel against Allah and refuse to say, ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah.” [Sunan Ibn-e-Majah, Kitab al-Zuhd] Otherwise, you have already seen how Allah will deal with people on the Day of Judgment.
فَسُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُوْنَ
“Glorified be Allah above all that which they attribute [to Him]!”
“Other than what you have seen, there are countless other ways of the forgiveness of Allah. There are countless deeds which are so liked by Allah that due to them, a person is covered in the light of Allah’s forgiveness.
“Some such actions include the five daily prayers, fasting, good morals, taking care of the elderly, obedience to parents, loyalty to husbands, taking care of orphans, charity and alms-giving, seeking forgiveness and repentance, propagating the message of Islam, remembrance of Allah, fear of Allah and taqwa, having hope in the mercy of Allah, trying to stay away from big sins, respect of elders, forgiving the faults of other people, love of Allah, helping people, invoking Durood upon the Holy Prophetsa with love and devotion, sincerity, jihad, sacrifice, recitation of the Holy Quran etc.
“In essence, all good deeds absorb the forgiveness of Allah and sometimes, it is these small deeds that are appreciated and rewarded manifold by Allah and result in the forgiveness of the person. When you return here next time, I will tell you some other aspects.
“And anyway, with the command of Allah, your leader and guide, Ahmadas [the Promised Messiah] has opened a place of forgiveness in the world. I asked, “Which place?”
He replied, “The same place which is known as Bahishti Maqbarah [the Heavenly Graveyard, founded by the Promised Messiahas]. Your Jamaat is very fortunate that they are able to receive such [blessings] through the grace of Allah, which the previous ummahs and the earlier people of this ummah were not able to. Everyone who is buried in this graveyard will come out on the Day of Judgment already dressed in the garb of Allah’s forgiveness.”
Then, Ghufran asked me, “Tell me, since you are personally aware of matters of that graveyard, let me hear some interesting incidents of God’s forgiveness pertaining to the place. I have shown you around this place in such detail, now let me hear an incident or two from you that you have witnessed with your own eyes so that it may please my heart.”
I replied, “Okay, then listen!”
Interesting incidents linked with Bahishti Maqbarah
“One incident is that of Maulvi Nabha Sahib. He used to live in a city called Nabha, quite far from Qadian. He was very old and poor. If he had died there [in Nabha], there was no appropriate arrangement for bringing the dead body [to Qadian], nor were his relatives rich enough to arrange for the transport.
“One day, perhaps only four days before his demise, Allah instilled a great yearning and passion in his heart to visit Qadian. He got on a train right away and alighted at Batala Station. In those days, the trains did not yet reach Qadian.
“The same day, I was returning back to my place of employment from Qadian. I met him roadside near the village of Vadala. He was happy and in great shape. I asked him as to what brought him to Qadian? He replied, ‘All of a sudden, I got so eager to visit Qadian that I could not even stay a single moment in Nabha. I plan to stay a few days here and then I shall return.’
“After this [short conversation] my horse-carriage left for Batala and his departed for Qadian. Two or three days after I reached the place of my employment, I read in Al Fazl that Maulvi Nabha Sahib was visiting Qadian, he got sick there and had passed away from the illness. It said that he was buried in the Bahishti Maqbarah.
“So, this was one sign I saw in that Allah compelled his heart and brought a weak and poor person, hundreds of miles away from his home, to Qadian at the time of his death. Otherwise, the poor person would have been buried in his hometown Nabha because there would have been no arrangements for his dead body to be brought to Qadian, so Bahishti Maqbarah pulled him to itself.
“The second incident is even more fascinating than this one. Sheikh Mahmud Ahmad Irfani Saghir was sick in his final illness. He was not a musi [participant in the scheme of Al Wasiyyat]. A few days before his death, he finalised his Wasiyyat and sent it to the administrative offices of Bahishti Maqbarah. He passed away after a few days.
“The day he died was the same day when Jalsa Hoshiarpur, relating to the announcement of the fulfillment of the Musleh-e-Maud prophecy, took place. Th e majority of the men in Qadian had traveled to Hoshiarpur to participate in the Jalsa. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] was not in Qadian, nor were any of the other elders of the Jamaat. It was quite a desolate sight in Qadian and his family members felt that Irfani Saghir had passed away on a day when you could not even see enough people in Qadian to off er the funeral prayer.
“Irfani Kabir informed Hazrat Amirul Momineen [Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra] and also informed Hazrat Maulvi Sarwar Shah[ra] about his son’s demise. He requested His Holiness to allow for this old servant [of the community] to be buried in qitta-e-khas [an area of the graveyard dedicated for devout servants of the Jamaat] and wrote to Maulvi Sarwar Shah Sahib[ra], Secretary of Bahishti Maqbarah that his Wasiyyat was still in the office, pending approval. Thus, he requested him if he could grant special permission for him to be buried in Bahishti Maqbarah.
“Within a few hours, an answer was received for both telegrams. Huzoor[ra] replied that a place could not be offered in qitta-e-khas because there were special conditions for that. This instruction was complied with. Hazrat Maulvi [Sarwar Shah] Sahib[ra] replied that the will was not accepted, that is why he is not permitted to be buried in Bahishti Maqbarah.
“This was possibly because the will was made at the deathbed. But despite all this, God’s forgiveness and mercy was smiling over the body of this individual, that ‘We have caused you to die today so that you can be buried in the graveyard [Bahishti Maqbarah] and We have sent those who did not approve your request there [to Hoshiarpur]. Do not worry, for your services will not go in vain. And you will surely be buried in this very graveyard of which you are not considered worthy by the administrators.’
“So, what transpired was that a few members of Sadr Anjuman [the Central Administrative Body of the Jamaat] were able to reach Qadian in the middle of the night. A meeting was held that very morning by those members and the Wasiyyat was accepted. By 2pm, the deceased was buried in the graveyard aft er his funeral prayer.
“The train upon which Hazrat Maulvi Sarwar Shah Sahib and the others were supposed to arrive in Qadian was scheduled for 1:30pm, but the train was delayed by an hour and a half. If the train had reached in time, then surely Irfani Saghir would not have been buried in the graveyard because he was buried just after 2pm. Hence, I saw the special involvement of the forgiveness of Allah in that case with my own eyes, and I truly came to believe:
لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ اِلَّا اَنْتَ
“that ‘there is none other than You [Allah] who can forgive the sins.’
“When the will of Allah decides to show mercy, then there is no one who can stop it! Those of us who were saddened by the fact that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] and other elders were not in Qadian came to know that this was all according to the wisdom of Allah and that the forgiveness and mercy of Allah had decided that Mahmud Irfani would most definitely be buried in Bahishti Maqbarah, despite various hurdles and even not fulfilling certain criteria. And so it happened!”
Ghufran laughed at these incidents and then said, “Bring your ear closer to me.” I leaned towards him and he whispered such a thing in my ear that I could not stop the tears from flowing down my eyes; all I managed to say was, “Alhamdolillah” and “Jazakallah”.
Ghufran was not yet done with his conversation, when I saw the great door which we had used to enter the place of resurrection. Upon seeing the door, the peaceful trance that had intoxicated me with the forgiveness of Allah was slowly lift ed and I was awoken. What I saw was that I was still on my bed in my home, writing this very article. But the only thing I wrote in full consciousness was this last sentence:
آخِرُ دَعْوَانَا اَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِله رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ
[Our final call is that all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.]