Written by Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh and published in Al Furqan, Rabwah in December 1965 and January 1966, this article was written upon the demise of his father, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra
The memory of the final illness of our very dear Imam and my beloved father – both spiritual and biological – Hazrat Aqdas Khalifatul Masih II[ra] is something that cannot be forgotten. His health had been deteriorating since the evening and to control his breathing, oxygen was being supplied to him. There was fluid retention in his chest, which had to be removed repeatedly. Dr Qazi Masud Ahmad Sahib and my brother, Dr Mirza Munawwar Ahmad Sahib would continuously inspect his health and remove the liquid that had gathered.
From his children, two were on duty, while the rest had gathered without any assigned duty. Every member of the family, whether young or old, had apprehensions in their hearts, however not a single word of dismay was uttered; everyone clung on to the fine thread of hope.
Fear would arise and dissipate like smoke. The level of everyone’s tawakkul alallah [trust in Allah] and good hopes were akin to firm rocks. Those who are inexperienced may not be able to comprehend this seemingly self-conflicting state of affairs, however those people who have experience and who, after accepting the signs of divine decree, do not know how to be disheartened will completely understand what I have said.
In the smoke of uncertainty glimmered a flame of hope that remained till the end, however at times, the smoke of uncertainty would cause one to momentarily choke. Prayers were being uttered by all tongues and every heart was in prostration to its Lord. Huzoorra would sometimes fall into a swoon and at other times, he would gain consciousness, fully opening his eyes and glancing at his visitors.
On one occasion, he called Dr Mirza Munawwar Ahmad Sahib in a very low voice. As was decreed, the moments of unconsciousness began to prevail and as the night progressed, the unconsciousness increased. Even at that point, although our fears had amplified, we had not imagined that that would be Huzoor’s last night, which he was spending among us. To get a bit of rest, I left at around 11pm and dropped a guest, who had travelled from Lahore, to his residence.
I instructed [Mirza] Anas Ahmad that he should call me on the telephone should he notice any further weakness in health. After offering my prayers, I had only just lay down on my bed for a few minutes when the telephone rang in its startling manner. I was told to instantly return. I immediately performed wuzu [ablution] and arrived in an indescribable fashion. Upon entering Qasr-e-Khilafat [Huzoor’s residence], I noticed Dr Masud Ahmad and Dr Zaki-ul-Hasan Sahib seated on chairs outside in the courtyard and appearing rather down. I entered Huzoor’s room and found a completely different environment. No longer was there any care for the rule of having no more than two individuals present in the room at any one time; now, the room was filled with members of the family.
Hazrat Syeda Umm-e-Mateen and Hazrat Syeda Mehar Apa, who were completely distraught, sat on the left side, towards the head of the bed. My brother, Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Nasir Ahmad Sahib, stood on the right, towards the head of the bed, while Hazrat Barri Phupphi Jan [Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begumra] and Hazrat Chotti Phuppi Jan [Hazrat Nawab Amatul Hafeez Begumra] also stood beside the bed. The rest of my siblings who were present in Rabwah were all present in the room, as were other relatives. Everyone was reciting prayers under their breath and all eyes were fixated on the face of their beloved. Huzoor’s pace of breathing was a lot faster, yet he was unconscious.
There were no signs of distress or struggle on his face. Never have I seen the face of an ailing person so beautiful and innocent. I cannot remember how long we remained standing there in this manner and the change that occurred in his breathing that startled us all. For the first time then, I realised with immense certainty that God is Omnipotent, Living and Self-Subsisting; that He can alter His decree. However, the hour of decree that we ignorantly feared had now come upon us. At that point, I asked for a copy of the Holy Quran.
For the sake of this individual, who had dedicated his life to the service and love for the Holy Quran, I recited Surah Ya Sin aloud. It was a difficult time and my body was trembling from head to toe. I felt the thread of hope getting weaker. I could hear breathing spasms [from those attempting to contain their emotions], but God is a witness to the fact that every such breath was enveloped in prayers and every prayer was full of tears. During the tilawat of Surah Ya Sin, Huzoor’s breathing started to deteriorate and towards the end of the tilawat, the final moments of his life arrived. I placed the Quran down and began to recite Quranic prayers and other such prayers alongside everyone else.
Huzoorra took a long, deep breath – much like that of an innocent child after getting tired of crying – and we felt as though this was his last breath. It was then that I mixed homeopathic medicine with some water and dropped some of the medicine with my right index finger onto Huzoor’sra lips. With that, I instinctively prayed:
یَا حَىُّ يَا قَيُّوْمُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ نَسْتَغِيْثُ
[O Living and Self-Subsisting (God), we beseech Your Mercy.] At the time, his breathing had stopped and his body began to feel cold; apparently, his ties with life had ended. But all of a sudden, we saw a miracle of the Living God. I heard a loud, spontaneous cry from Hazrat Phupphi Jan, “Look, there was some movement in his feet.” With these words, there was subtle movement in his lips and perhaps some breathing.
Immediately, the pain and anxiety was replaced with calm and all over, cries of “Ya Hayyu, ya Qayyum” were heard. As we continued to pray, Huzoor’s breathing got deeper and deeper, to the extent that the doctors who had left the body as a corpse now returned and witnessed the remarkable miracle with amazement. However, it seems that Huzoor’s life leaving his body and then re-entering it was only to provide some peace to us and as a dressing of grace and mercy for our [wounded] hearts from God Almighty. Thus, after twenty minutes, the final call of his Lord was made. The environment and feelings of the time are indescribable.
We witnessed patience and peace descend upon our hearts from the heavens. It felt as though angels had taken control over patience and control. Tears were indeed flowing down our cheeks and prayers were being recited as is customary, but all hearts were fully content in the decree of the Almighty and all heads bowed before the worthy-of-worship Creator and Master. Only God knows how long we remained standing in that position, with our eyes fixed in his direction, who now appeared even more beautiful and innocent after death.
In that sanctified atmosphere, which was replete with the remembrance of Allah and the memory of which can never be forgotten, Huzoor’s blessed body lay to rest, appearing as an innocent angel, emitting spiritual light. After invoking blessings on the person who is most beloved to all of us, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, every heart prayed:
یٰۤاَیَّتُہَا النَّفۡسُ الۡمُطۡمَئِنَّۃُ ارۡجِعِیۡۤ اِلٰی رَبِّکِ رَاضِیَۃً مَّرۡضِیَّۃً
[(And) thou, O soul at peace! Return to thy Lord well pleased (with Him) and He well pleased (with thee).]