Tayyaba Ahmed, Hartlepool
“And those who say, ‘Our Lord, grant us of our spouses and children the delight of [our] eyes and make each of us a leader of the righteous.” (Surah al-Furqan, Ch.25: V.75)
Birth of another son: Abid
Many readers may have read, seen on MTA or heard about the amazing “out-of-body” experience of my mother when she had surgery for cancer in 1981. She saw herself presented before God and requested that she be allowed to return to her young family – at the time she had three young children: myself, Fareed and Munavvarah. Allah the Almighty responded by saying thousands of years had now passed and there was no point in returning, upon which my mother pleaded, “You are the Lord of Time. You have the power to send me back!” She was returned with two signs from God to show the truth of the incident: one that she would no longer need blood and secondly, she would suffer much pain.
When she woke, having already had two pints of blood, she saw that around half of a third bottle was being delivered through her arm, she signalled to my father and the medical staff that she did not want further blood to be transfused, but they took her murmurings to be due to the delirious effects of the anaesthetic. Her body immediately reacted to the blood and it had to be removed from her arm. After a great deal of pain, it was only her fervent prayer for recovery (at the time of her father’s arrival from Pakistan) that ended the second sign also.
What my mother and father probably did not envisage, shortly after the ordeal of her illness, was another miraculous blessing that Allah the Almighty would bestow on them – another son. Having had cancer treatment, doctors had advised against any further physical stress such as pregnancy. Yet in December 1982, Abid Waheed Ahmad Khan was born.
Of course, my parents were delighted and very grateful to Allah; he was the centre of the whole family’s attention, as often the youngest child in the family is. Abid soon grew into an active and innocently mischievous child.
By the time he was around two or three, my father would stand him up beside himself in congregational Salat. Being so young, he understood Salat was an important time so he would stand for Salat at the beginning, disappear for a time during Salat and then return just before the end! However, this gentle training meant that by the time he was just six years old, I can remember that on certain occasions, when other male family members were not available, he was able to lead Salat at home.
When reminiscing over her dedication to tabligh, my mother herself mentioned a dream to me that she had seen when she was young, perhaps a teenager, in which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra came and said to her, “Jab tum payntees sal ki hogi, men tumharay upar aik jadoo karunga”, meaning, “When you reach the age of 35, I shall put a spell on you.” She believed the dream meant that in her 30s, a great change would take place in her. Certainly, by the grace of Allah, it was from around this time onwards that many of those English ladies converted, who numbered around 18 by the time she passed away in 1994.
It was a great blessing that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh would spare his precious time and accept the invitation of my parents to visit Hartlepool for the purpose of tabligh. My mother would invite as many of her friends and contacts as she could and they would gather in her sitting room, with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh seated in a chair near the fireplace, answering in detail their questions. On one such occasion, two or three of my teenage school friends also attended and commented afterwards, “We were mesmerised by his voice and his turban!”
In addition to this, my parents would take every opportunity possible to attend Jalsas, question and answer sessions, programmes and private mulaqats (meetings) with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh. The following incidents are related according to my memory and understanding of the time and I pray I am not mistaken in these narrations in any way.
On one occasion, my parents took a lady, called Joyce, of Jewish background to meet Huzoorrh. When she was introduced to Huzoorrh, he responded in such a beautiful way by describing her people as “a spiritually and intellectually gifted nation.”
Another meeting which I remember attending was of the elderly lady, who I mentioned earlier, Mary. My mother had been preaching to her for a while and had taken her to meet Huzoorrh, I assume with the hope that her interest in Islam would progress. The lady, however, had a personal grievance which she discussed in tears, that her son and daughter-in-law did not come to see her at all, thereby resulting in her being deprived of the company of her two grandsons. I waited with bated breath to see how Huzoorrh would respond; the old lady seeming to be the injured party.
Huzoorrh, surprisingly, graciously and very wisely, explained to her that at times, the bigger (elder) person is the one who shows humility and makes the first move towards reconciliation. I wish she had acted on this advice but unfortunately, she did not. She died without making amends with her family a year or two later, my mother being the only one at her bedside in the end.
It was also in such a mulaqat with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh that I remember mention was made of a lady who had converted – (my impression was) initially and mostly for the sake of marriage. Huzoorrh made a comment to the effect that just because someone’s entrance to the true religion was not ideal, it did not mean once they had entered the fold, they could not be successful (and sincere). It was a great privilege to attend these precious meetings with Huzoorrh; may Allah Bless Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya always. Amin.
There have been many times when I have looked back and realised the profundity of the comments of beloved Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh and been amazed at the wisdom and truth encapsulated in his words.
One incident is a favourite memory of mine whereby Huzoorrh and my mother were discussing which among two of her children was the most intelligent, Huzoorrh having one opinion and my mother siding with another. At this time, my son Taalay was just a baby of 2-3 months old. Huzoorrh eventually accepted my mother’s choice but pointed to the baby and said that he would be even more intelligent.
A question and answer session with a wedding
By January 1989, the successful preaching efforts of both my parents were now in full throttle. Therefore, when the time came for my wedding (to Ummi’s nephew, Syed Hashim A Ahmed) they, of course, requested Huzoorrh to not only visit Hartlepool and announce the nikah, but also for a question and answer session with a large roomful of guests. By this time, my father had converted his large double garage into a meeting room, especially keeping in mind such visits of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh and the hospitality of the guests that were invited to many such tabligh events. He had also extended our home to add another dining room. The question and answer session was very blessed by the grace of Allah, with varied topics discussed.
As far as my memory serves, it was a couple of days later when my mother attended our small walima (wedding) dinner in London, that Huzoorrh gave her a most wonderful and prophetic compliment, that she would be remembered as “Queen Victoria” in the history of (ladies) tabligh in the UK. My mother was elated and very grateful to Allah for His blessings. This article is my humble effort in this regard. My sister, brother and son having already published articles and a documentary about my parents, I felt it would be good to join them in recording their good efforts in Ahmadiyya history. May Allah accept it. Amin.
“And Solomon was heir to David. And he said, ‘O ye people, we have been taught the language of birds and we have had everything bestowed upon us. This indeed is [God’s] manifest grace.’” (Surah al-Naml, Ch.27: V.17)
My mother, in 1994, eventually succumbed to another episode of cancer.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَ اِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
“Verily, to Allah we belong, and to Him shall we return.”
She once told me that she always tried to follow the Holy Prophet’ssa guidance that we should love others purely for the sake of Allah. This was her way.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh led her funeral prayer in absentia in London and said, “She achieved such a great masterpiece in this country that I wish her funeral prayers be performed in such a distinguished manner that the whole world may join in the prayers […]”
May Allah bless her soul and raise her status in Heaven. Amin.
Lajna UK Centenary 2017
Many years had passed by since my mother’s passing. Lajna Imaillah UK was celebrating 100 years of being established in the UK. Intriguingly, it was at this time that the MTA documentary was produced (by Taalay – the baby Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh had complimented many years earlier), titled The White Birds of Hartlepool. It was a timely reminder, with interviews of several converts from my parents’ time, of my parents’ humble efforts in tabligh, most assuredly blessed by the prayers of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh. Thus, when it came to the main Lajna UK Centenary event in Baitul Futuh Mosque, London, the lady that had been bestowed the title of “Queen Victoria” many years earlier by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, was remembered well by the ladies of today, alhamdulillah.