Zikr-e-Habib: Friendship and brotherly relations


This series, Zikr-e-Habib, explores the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, and his sayings, shedding light on his noble character and the impact of his teachings on his followers and the world at large.

M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam

Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

اِنَّمَا الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ اِخۡوَةٌ

“Surely all believers are brothers.” (Surah Hujurat, Ch.49: V.11)

According to Islamic teachings, friendships and brotherhoods should be formed for Allah’s sake, unblemished with ulterior motives or interests. Securing a pure relationship in the name of God Almighty, promotes a strong sense of trust, resulting in an unbreakable connection that transcends selfish and worldly gains.

Hazrat Anasra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweet delight of faith:

“Firstly, Allah and His Messengersa become dearer to them than anything else. Secondly, they love a person only for the sake of Allah’s love. Thirdly, they hate reverting to disbelief, as they hate to be thrown into the fire.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul Iman, Hadith 16)

The Holy Prophetsa was the best of friends, and his Companionsra were witnesses to the fact that he loved them only for the sake of Allah the Almighty. Before the commencement of his formal ministry, the friends’ circle of Prophet Muhammadsa was limited because of his tendency towards seclusion; however, he still had friends, which included Hazrat Abu Bakrra, also known as Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah, Hakim bin Hizam, Hazrat Khadijah’s nephew, and Zaid bin Amr, a relative of Hazrat Umarra. (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophetssa, p. 160) After the revelation of Divine teachings, Prophet Muhammadsa laid the foundation of an Islamic brotherhood among Muslims and they became selfless friends.

The life of the Holy Prophetsa is replete with countless examples of love, kindness and compassion towards his friends and companions.

Once, a companion of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Ammar bin Yasirra was subjected to extreme torture by the non-believers. He went to the Holy Prophetsa in a debilitated state, and in sheer agony, Hazrat Ammarra said, “O Messengersa of Allah, people are killing me. They put so much load on me that I am unable to carry.” Seeing his dreadful condition and hearing his account, tears welled up the eyes of the Holy Prophetsa. It is narrated by Hazrat Umm-e-Salamara: “I saw the Messengersa of Allah setting Ammar’s hair with his own blessed hands and telling the people, ‘Ammar is so dear to me as if he is the skin between my eyes and nose.’” (The Holy Prophet’s love and kindness for his Companions, Al Hakam, 20 November 2020, Vol. 3, Issue 140)

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, who is the Messiah of Muhammadsa and appeared in the letter and spirit of Prophet Jesusas, received the fair share of mercy and gentleness from both sides. Besideestablishing a relationship of loyalty, trust, and kindness with his followers, the Promised Messiahas was an inspiration for his opponents with respect to his lasting friendships and brotherly relations.

Unconditional friendship

Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra Sialkoti relates:

“On one occasion, he [Prophet Ahmadas] said, ‘It is my belief that any individual who makes a vow of friendship with me even once, I have such regard for this vow, that irrespective of their nature and no matter what they become, I cannot sever my ties with them. If the individual cuts off their ties with me themselves, in that case I am helpless. Otherwise, my belief is that if one of my friends had collapsed in the market after consuming alcohol and there was a crowd of people around him, I would pick him up and take him away without fear of reproach by any critic.’ Then, he said, ‘The bond of friendship is a most valuable gem. One must not waste it away easily. No matter how unpleasant a friend may be to you, one ought to forgive and forget.’

“Our brothers ought to take an important lesson from this example. To become angry with one another on petty matters and when incensed, to treat one another like the uncultured and impure is contrary to the bond that has been established by the hand of Allah.” (Life of the Promised Messiahas, pp. 78-79)

Caring for friends

Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib states:

“The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, set a splendid example in this respect also, [i.e. looking after his friends]. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad, Allah be pleased with him, says: 

“‘Seth Ghulam Nabi reported to me that once he came to Qadian to see the Promised Messiah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. It was winter, and it was wet. He reached Qadian in the evening. After supper, he went to bed. Late at night, someone knocked at the door. When he opened the door, he found the Promised Messiah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, standing at the door, with a glass of hot milk in one hand and a lantern in the other. Seth Sahib says he was flurried to see the Promised Messiah[as], who, however, very affectionately said, ‘Somebody sent me some milk, and it occurred to me that you might be in the habit of drinking milk at night, so I have brought it for you. Please drink it.’

“At this, Seth Sahib’s eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. Glory be to God! What sublime behaviour! How much pleasure this Chosen Messiah of God used to find in serving and entertaining even his humble servants, and how much trouble he took on their behalf.” (The Promised Messiahas, p. 27)

Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra narrates:

“I became ill and had gone to Sialkot for a few days during that time. My condition grew more fragile. My dear and honourable friend Mir Hamid Shah Sahib, Deputy Superintendent, District Sialkot, wrote a letter to His Holiness, [Prophet Ahmadas] about my illness. I feel obliged to record here the letter that he wrote in response because in my view this letter is a strong proof of His Holiness being a manifestation of Allah.

إنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَاتِ

‘Deeds are based on intentions.’ [Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 1]

“The letter read as follows:

“‘My honourable brother, Maulvi Abdul-Karim Sahib, peace be onyou, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.

“‘Just now, at about 2 o’clock, I am in receipt of the letter that my brother Syed Hamid Shah Sahib has written about the condition of your illness. As soon as I read the letter, I was saddened with grief to such an extent as can be known only by God Almighty. May Allah the Exalted shower His special mercy. I will pray with special attention. The fact is that of all the people in my community, the two of you are the only ones who have devoted their lives to me in the service of religion; you are one and the other is Maulvi Hakim Nur-ud-Din Sahib. There is no third as of yet. And so, who can know, except for God Almighty, the anguish that I feel, the restlessness from which I suffer? May Allah Almighty grant you health and have mercy, and may He give you a long life. Ameen, and again, Ameen.

“‘Give me swift news of your full recovery.

“‘Sincerely, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Qadian. 24 October 1899.’

“Gratitude is due to God. Through the prayer of His Holinessas, I regained my health. As such, from among the circle of our noble friends, not a single one would disagree when I say that His Holiness, [the Promised Messiahas] holds the hand of each and every one of us, and this is always the case.” (Life of the Promised Messiahas, pp. 77-78)

Regard for friendship despite hostility

Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi was Prophet Ahmad’sas childhood friend and classmate, but he stumbled at the time of the Messiahship claim and not only broke the bond of friendship but also became one of the fiercest opponents of the Promised Messiahas. He was among the first to issue a fatwa of kufr [disbelief] against Prophet Ahmadas. However, the regard for and memory of their friendship remained alive in the heart of the Promised Messiahas till the very end. Consequently, in one of his late works of poetry, Prophet Ahmadas remembered Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala in the following words:

قَطَعْتَ وُدَاداً قَدْ غَرَسْنَاہ فِي الصَّبَا

وَلَيْسَ فَوَادِيْ فِي الْوَدَادِ يُقَصِّرُ

“You cut off the tree of friendship that we planted in our youth; but my heart did not fall short – whatsoever – in this friendship.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya [English], Part V, p. 454)

Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib writes:

“In the prosecution launched by Dr Henry Martin Clark, the Maulvi [Muhammad Hussain] appeared as a witness against the Promised Messiah, peace be on him. In order to discredit his evidence, the Promised Messiah’s[as] lawyer, Maulvi Fazl Din, who was a non-Ahmadi gentleman, asked Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi a derogatory question concerning his descent or family. The Promised Messiah[as] stopped him from doing so, saying emphatically, ‘I will not permit any such question to be put to the witness.’

“Later, Maulvi Fazl Din always mentioned this incident with an expression of surprise and observed, ‘Mirza Sahib is a wonderful person; an opponent attacks his honour, puts his life in jeopardy, and in return, he stops his lawyer from asking his opponent such questions as might discredit [that opponent’s] evidence.’” (The Promised Messiahas, pp. 31-32)

In his biography of the Promised Messiahas, Iain Adamson writes:

“His [Prophet Ahmad’sas] devotion to old friends, and friends who had become enemies, never wavered. Muhammad Hussain was included in his prayers. He wrote of his despair that ‘the tree of mutual love nurtured in our childhood’ had been uprooted. He added, ‘I can never forget the springtime of our friendship for the valley of my heart is not a desert nor strewn with rocks.’” (Ahmad[as], The Guided One, p. 291)

Hazrat Yaqub Ali Irfanira states:

“Mir Abbas Ali Sahib of Ludhiana was one of the sincere friends of the Promised Messiahas who was drawn towards him by God Almighty during the publication of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, and the courage and passion with which he served [Prophet Ahmadas] in that era is truly appreciable. However, Allah knows best as to what was the hidden depravity and defiance that finally separated him.

“When [Prophet Ahmadas] proclaimed himself to be the Messiah, he went through a trial, just like Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Sahib [of Batala] parted ways at that time. This test of Mir Sahib was in accordance with the prophecy sent by God Almighty.” (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas, p. 256)

In spite of the fact that Mir Abbas Ali Sahib openly revolted against the Promised Messiahas and, in this opposition, he crossed all moral boundaries, the Prophet Ahmadas never abandoned their old friendship and always respected him.

Explaining the prophecy about Mir Abbas Ali Sahib and requesting prayers, the Promised Messiahas said:

“In short, this revelation describes the obtaining condition, not necessarily indicative of the final end, and the end is yet to come. Many there were who defected from the ranks of the righteous and became their sworn enemies, yet they later repented on witnessing some divine miracles, wept bitterly, confessed their sins and returned to the fold. Man’s heart lies in God’s hand, and the tests and trials from that Supreme Sage are always close by.

“Mir Sahib fell into a trial due to some inherent weakness in him. As a consequence, his devotional zeal gave way to spiritual constriction which turned to coldness, and then to disrespect, leading to the sealing of his heart, open hostility and an intent to vilify and defame me. Herein is a lesson of a great downfall! Could anyone think or imagine that Mir Abbas Ali would come to such an end? The Lord of Sovereignty does as He pleases.

“My friends should pray for him and should not withhold their sympathy from their fallen and helpless brother. God-willing, I too shall pray for him. I would have liked to include some of his letters in this journal to show to the people the degree of Mir Abbas Ali’s devotion, the dreams he spoke of and the expressions of humility and reverence he used when writing to me, but, alas, this brief journal has little space for them. Nevertheless, if the Mighty God so wills, I shall do so at some appropriate time. This is a potent example of the changes a man can undergo; one whose heart was always full of devotion and reverence – who would write of me as God’s vicegerent on earth – has now come to such a sorry pass. Fear Allah, therefore, and always pray that He may keep your hearts on the right path and, out of His sheer grace, protect you against error.” (The Heavenly Decree, pp. 63-65)

On one occasion, the Promised Messiahas said:

“One should not harbour malevolence against one’s adversaries. Instead, a person ought to pray for such people more than anything else and use other means to reform them.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 1, p. 7)

A staunch opponent of the Promised Messiahas in Qadian, Lala Budhamal opposed the construction of the White Minaret. The Hindus petitioned the Deputy Commissioner to halt the tower’s construction, citing privacy concerns. In spite of the baseless excuse, the Deputy Commissioner sent the objection to the Magistrate of the Circle for investigation and a report. The Magistrate visited Qadian, talked with the Promised Messiah, and enquired about the Tower’s construction. The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, said:

“Their complaint is not based on any sound ground. It proceeds merely from their hostile attitude towards me, for there is no question of any disturbance of privacy.” (The Promised Messiahas, p. 26)

Pointing to Lala Budhamal, Prophet Ahmadas added:

“Here is Lala Budhamal, ask him if there ever was an opportunity of my helping or doing a favour to him and his friends and I failed to do so. Ask him further, if he and his friends had any opportunity of doing me harm, and they did not take advantage of it against me.” (Ibid.)

Hafiz Raushan Ali Sahibra, who was a great scholar and divine of the Ahmadiyya Movement, has stated:

“Hearing this, Lala Budhamal was so embarrassed that he uttered not a single word and dared not even to lift his eyes to face the Promised Messiah[as].” (Ibid.)

Friends with everyone

The Promised Messiahas had great friendly relations with Hindus and people of various other nations as well. He always maintained them with great excellence and never gave them any opportunity to break the bond of friendship. Among the Aryas of Qadian, Lala Malawamal Sahib was a strong opponent in religious matters and he used to side with his countrymen and like-minded people in opposition to the Promised Messiahas. However, Prophet Ahmadas never expressed his displeasure with him and never let go of their brotherly relations. (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas by Hazrat Yaqub Ali Irfanira, p. 257)

Likewise, the Promised Messiahas was friends with Lala Bhim Sen Sahib from his childhood. During Prophet Ahmad’sas stay in Sialkot for work, Lala Bhim Sen Sahib was also there and they developed a close friendly relationship. Lala Sahib always praised the noble life of the Promised Messiah’sas and talked about their sincere friendship. He was convinced of Prophet Ahmad’sas closeness to Allah the Almighty. They shared each other’s sorrows and the Promised Messiahas always helped him in the time of need. (Ibid.)

Prayers for friends

Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra relates:

“Seth Abdur Rahman Sahib of Madras, may Allah be pleased with him, sought permission to return to Madras on 10 January [1900] for some important work. He had also received a telegram from Madras in this connection. His Holiness, [the Promised Messiahas] said, ‘It is absolutely imperative for you to remain here during this blessed month (of Ramadan).’ His Holinessas said, ‘I am ready to make such a prayer in your favour that would even move mountains.’ Then, he [Prophet Ahmadas] said:

“‘During these days, I sit with my friends less than usual and remain in solitude for longer. This is truly to the benefit of my friends. I pray in seclusion with time and freedom, and spend a better part of the night in prayers.’” (Life of the Promised Messiahas, p. 79)


Prophet Ahmadas considered his friends as an extension of his being and cared for them with all his heart, as he says, “The fact of the matter is that my friends are a part of me, as are my limbs. We observe in our daily lives that even the smallest of parts, such as a finger for example, if subject to pain, agitates and distresses the entire body. Allah the Exalted is well-aware that in exactly the same way, constantly at every moment, I forever remain anxious and concerned about whether my friends are in a state of ease and comfort. This sympathy and compassion which I feel is not the result of any artificial effort or [something] unnatural. In fact, just as a mother is incessantly absorbed in ensuring that each and every one of her children are in peace and comfort, no matter their number, I find my heart replete, in the way of Allah, with the same tenderness and compassion for my friends.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 1, p. 101)

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