Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
وَكَذٰلِكَ نُرِىْ اِبْرٰهِيْمَ مَلَكُوْتَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْاَرْضِ
“And thus did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth.” (Surah al-Anam, Ch.6: V.76)
The Promised Messiahas states in one of his poetic works:
ميں كبھی آدم كبھی موسٰی كبھی يعقوب هوں
نيز ابرهيم هوں، نسليں هيں ميری بے شمار
“At one moment I am (an embodiment) of Adamas, at another, of Mosesas, and at another, of Jacobas; similarly, of Abrahamas; I have countless spiritual progenies.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 5, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 21, p. 133)
Thus, Allah the Almighty manifested abundant tidings of upcoming events to the Abraham of the latter days, as well as divine visions. Accordingly, Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begumra narrates that the Promised Messiahas once said to Hazrat Amma Janra:
“Every so often, I feel like telling these people about the Khilafat of Mahmud, but then I contemplate that the divine will of Allah will become manifest at its given time in the future.”
Giving details of this historic occurrence, the words from the complete statement of Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begumra are on the record in Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, volume 4, pages 59-60.
Every child of the Promised Messiahas received abundant kindness and compassion from him, but the promised son – about whom Allah the Almighty manifested a grand and extraordinary prophecy well before his birth following forty days of solitude and prayers in Hoshiarpur, comprising of 52 signs – received great attention, care and love from the Promised Messiahas.
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra was born on 12 January 1889. Thus, for next nineteen years, he enjoyed the nearness and affection of Hazrat Ahmadas. During this long period of time, he had the opportunity to witness all the engagements of the Promised Messiahas and to record the sayings and happenings of the Promised Messiahas for members of the Jamaat while sharing the same house. (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 411 and Vol. 5, p. 29, 179 & 355)
After the birth of the promised son, the Promised Messiahas carried out the sunnah of Aqiqa (sacrifice after the birth of a child) on 18 January 1889. (Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 163)
Huzooras looked after the well-being of this child and made special efforts to improve his health.
It is on the record that Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra accompanied the Promised Messiahas on several journeys while he was just a few months old, for instance, the journey of Ludhiana in which the first Bai‘at took place in 1889. Sirat-ul-Mahdi, part 1, page 18 narrates that the family of the Promised Messiahas was present at the blessed occasion of the first Bai‘at. So, it can be said that the young Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra was also there.
Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira narrates a famous incident in which Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra was only three years old. One summer evening, in Ludhiana, the Promised Messiahas was looking after his son who was constantly crying. Meanwhile, the young Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra put forward a unique wish saying:
ابا، تارے جانا
“I want to go to the stars.” After narrating this incident, Hazrat Maulvi Sahibra states that the child stopped crying after exhausting himself. The Promised Messiahas did not express a single word of discomfort or discontent during that interval. (Sirat Masih-e-Maud, Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira, pp. 35-36)
Recollecting a memory from the incidents of his childhood, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra narrates an account saying, “I would express my desire to go for walks with the Promised Messiahas and I had this opportunity on many occasions. Once, we happened to pass through a place with many puddles due to excessive rainfall and it was not possible for me to jump over them as I was a child. So the Promised Messiahas picked me up and helped me across.” (Al Fazl, 29 October 1926, p. 6)
The Promised Messiahas used to express his love for the young Mahmud Ahmadra at times when most people do not give much attention to their children due to their small age.
Hazrat Munshi Zafar Ahmadra narrates such incidents which he witnessed personally. He narrates that the Promised Messiahas would always, himself, unbolt the door for his son Mahmudra. Likewise, when Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra would put small clay pots or toys in the pocket of the Promised Messiahas, he would not permit their removal, saying, “Mahmud placed these toys in my pocket trusting me. If he asks for them, how will I return them [if they are not in my pocket]?” (Ashab-e-Ahmad, Vol. 4, p. 110)
Once, accompanying a group of fellow children, a young Mahmudra set fire to a precious manuscript of a book of the Promised Messiahas. Thereupon the Promised Messiahas said smilingly, “Very well. There must be a grand divine motive behind all this. Allah the Almighty wishes to teach me a much better subject.” (Sirat Masih-e-Maud, Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira, Page 20-21)
At times, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra would accompany the Promised Messiahas in the Gol Kamra [dining room near the house of the Promised Messiahas] as the Promised Messiahas would feed him and narrate stories for his tarbiyat. (Riwayat Sahaba, register no. 13, p. 455 [unpublished])
There is an incident when Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra was of a very young age. Once during a walk, Mir Nasir Nawab Sahibra was holding his maternal grandson, i.e. Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra. On the journey, out of love, the Promised Messiahas kissed his son. (Riwayat Sahaba, register no. 12, p. 120, [unpublished])
Another narrator says that in the same age of childhood, if Hazrat Mian Sahibra came by himself or someone brought him in their arms, the Promised Messiahas would say Assalamo Alaikum each time. (Sirat-e-Ahmad, Hazrat Maulvi Qudratullah Sanaurira, p. 176)
The sequence of the above-mentioned incidents shows the overwhelming kind-heartedness and tarbiyat of childhood. However, as Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra grew, the honour and respect of the Promised Messiahas grew deeper for him. The Promised Messiahas paid special attention to the health and wellbeing of this promised son till the end of his own life.
The tarbiyat of childhood is of paramount importance. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra related that once he hunted a parrot. The Promised Messiahas was very busy in some work, but sighting such an action, he said, “Mahmud, although the flesh of this bird is not forbidden, but Allah the Almighty has not created every animal for eating.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 4 p. 263)
How fortunate he was to have received such close attention.
Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra was told to prepare an essay on the comparison of knowledge and wealth by his school. There started a discussion on this topic during a meal in the company of the Promised Messiahas. Hazrat Ahmadas explained that neither knowledge nor wealth was superior and that God’s beneficence surpassed everything in goodness. (Al Badr, 31 October 1902, p. 1)
The Promised Messiahas once observed a small Mirza Mahmudra catching birds in the house and said, “Mian, you should not catch the birds of the house. The one who has no mercy, has no faith.” (Sirat Masih-e-Maud, Hazrat Yaqub Ali Irfanira, p. 342)
Hazrat Hafiz Syed Mukhtar Shahjahanpurira narrates an incident of April or May 1893. Once Hazrat Mahmudra was playing with a little child of his age. Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra approached him gently and softly asked him, “Are you playing?” In the same tone as the question was asked, Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra replied, “When I grow up, I will also work”. Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra said, “Your father thinks the same; and so does Nuruddin. God knows best.” (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 4, p. 18)
Observing his son’s passion for hunting and boating, the Promised Messiahas provided an air gun and a boat from Jhelum. He appointed a person to teach swimming to the child also.
The Promised Messiahas provided a large horse of a decent breed for his son in around 1906 so that he may fulfill his passion of horse-riding.
There was a unique association of mutual love between father and son.
During a storm and severe winds, lightning suddenly struck, causing a young Mirza Mahmudra to cover the head of the Promised Messiahas with his hands in an attempt to protect him. The promised son already knew that the guardian of the age and the saviour from all atrocities was the Promised Messiahas himself, but such occurrences happen out of extreme love and emotional attachment. (Al Fazl, 21 December 1935, p. 9)
The Promised Messiahas used to monitor his children in that they offered their five obligatory prayers regularly. It is narrated that he once enquired from Hazrat Mahmudra whether he offered the Jumuah prayer in the mosque. (Al Fazl, 18 June 1925, p. 7)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra had a special inclination to hearing religious discussions from a very small age. He started to attend talks the Promised Messiahas held with his companions in the same age. The Promised Messiahas would also treat him with extreme kindness and let him sit on the right side of the Shah Nasheen [the seat commonly used by the Promised Messiahas]. (Al Fazl, 29 July 1964, p. 3)
The Promised Messiahas would assess, after hearing the religious discussions, to ascertain what had been grasped by his son.
Hazrat Dr Mir Muhammad Ismailra narrates that after returning home from a speech of Jalsa Salana, the Promised Messiahas asked about his speech from Mirza Mahmudra who was around 10-12 years of age at that time. The promised son, according to his age, understanding and memory recalled elements of the discussion. The Promised Messiahas became extremely pleased at his observation. (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Part 3, pp. 111-112)
Hazrat Sheikh Muhammad Ismailra narrates, “We have countlessly heard from the Promised Messiahas, not once, but many times that the boy who has been mentioned in the prophecy is Mian Mahmud. Moreover, we have heard that he used to say that Mian Mahmud possessed such strong religious passion in him that at times he would especially pray for him.” (Al Hakam, Jubilee Number, December 1939, p. 80)
A brief study of the collection of books written by the Promised Messiahas – Ruhani Khazain – indicates that the prophecy of Musleh-e-Maud and his advent has been mentioned over a hundred times in the books of the Promised Messiahas.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra completed his first reading of the entire Holy Quran on 7 June 1897. On this joyous occasion, one can guage the delight of the Promised Messiahas from the fact that he gifted a huge sum of one hundred and fifty rupees of his own free will to Hazrat Hafiz Ahmad Khan Nagpurira who taught him to read the Quran. (Al Fazl, 26 October 1926, p. 6)
Moreover, every poetic verse written by the Promised Messiahas on this occasion serves as a portrayal of that extreme delight.
The life of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra and the history of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyyat go side by side. The Promised Messiahas was aware about the status of this son. The manifestation of this awareness is evident from the fact that during the case proceedings of Henry Martyn Clark, which was a serious case of attempted murder, the Promised Messiahas asked Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra to pray and observe istikhara (prayer seeking good from Allah). (Al Fazl, 15 July 1919, p. 8)
Then came the age of school for Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, but severe health problems befell him. The Promised Messiahas asked Hazrat Pir Iftikhar Ahmad who was the headmaster of Lower Primary School of Qadian under the district board, “Take Mian (Mahmud) to school as well.” (Riwayat Sahaba, Vol. 7, p. 5 [unpublished])
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra continued to take worldly education but lacked regularity owing to the above-mentioned circumstances. Hence, a teacher at the school complained to the Promised Messiahas, upon which the Promised Messiahas responded that even his son’s occasional appearance at school was satisfactory for him as he believed that his son’s health did not permit him to study. He said that he was not going to open a utility store for which he would require an education in mathematics.
On the basis of a similar complaint regarding education, the Promised Messiahas had an assessment of Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra and wrote some sentences with his own pen on a piece of paper and told him to copy them. In this manner, an examination was done. (Al Maud, Speech of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra on the occasion of Jalsa Salana, 28 December 1944)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra established a society of youngsters to help them prepare for the promulgation of Islam. The Promised Messiahas, out of compassion, named this society “Tashheez-ul-Azhan”.
At the age of thirteen or fourteen, the Promised Messiahas permitted his son to fast.
When he was to travel to Batala to take a middle school exam in January 1902, the Promised Messiahas received a revelation:
That he is weak and “a man should support him”. Thereupon, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra went with him. (Tadhkira [English rendering], p. 1045)
The Nikah and wedding of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra with the daughter of Hazrat Khalifa Rashiduddin Sahib was carried out in October 1902. The letter sent to present the request for the engagement, had this written on it by the Promised Messiahas:
“It seems that Mahmud is also satisfied with this engagement.” (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 4, p. 45)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra received his first revelation from God at the age of 15 or 16, which he immediately conveyed to the Promised Messiahas. Without any delay, Hazrat Ahmadas wrote it in the notebook. (Al Fazl, 7 March 1944, p. 2)
During the same time-frame, once it so happened that the Promised Messiahas and Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra received identical revelations in one night. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 9, p. 447)
The Promised Messiahas was so anxious about the health of his son that on the demise of Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira, an occasion of extreme sadness, Huzooras verbally expressed his worry for Mahmud’sra health owing to the circumstances. (Al Hakam, Jubilee Number: December 1939, Page 10-11)
The Promised Messiahas nominated Sahibzada Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra as a member of the Majlis-e-Mu‘tamideen (Society of Confidants) for Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya in January 1906. (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 4, p. 59)
In 1908, the Promised Messiahas travelled to Lahore and resided there for some time – this was his last journey. At that time, he told a doctor that although he was unwell, Mahmudra was also unwell and that he was very much perturbed about his health. He asked the doctor to carry out his treatment with full diligence. (Malaikatullah, p. 66, [Speech, Jalsa Salana 1920])
Thereupon, on 26 May, the incident that was feared by many occurred. However, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra lived up to the vow that was taken by him whilst standing at the bedside of the Promised Messiahas, till his last breath:
“Even if all the people leave you and I am left alone, I will stand by you.”
Thus came to an end the extraordinary journey of companionship between a father and son, a master and disciple, extended over nineteen years and encompassing abundant invaluable pearls of divine matters.