The Promised Messiahas had a debate with Abdullah Atham in Amritsar and it was prophesied that whoever [of the two participants] opposed the truth would be cast into hell in fifteen months. However, Abdullah Atham became fearful and repented. Consequently, he was given respite, but after some time, he became brazen and died.
The duration of fifteen months mentioned in the prophecy had not yet passed, but it was generally believed that the meaning of the prophecy was that he would surely die within the predicted time period. Thus, before the passing of those fifteen months, I wrote a letter to the Promised Messiahas and expressed that, “Whether the prophecy is fulfilled in the literal sense of the words or not, it will not have any effect on my faith. I believed [in the Promised Messiahas] well before witnessing such signs.” Coincidentally, in an old notebook, I found a copy of that letter, which reads as follows:
“Letter to the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him. 31 August 1893.
“At this hour, it will be difficult for the Promised Messiahas to spare some time to read the letter of someone like me who is incapable and incompetent. However, my inner self has compelled me [to write this letter]. Thus, I apologise in advance and write a few lines with great respect.
“Before I could witness any prophecy or sign being fulfilled, I have followed your footsteps for almost four years and have believed with all my heart in your truthfulness. Now, the time is nigh for the fulfilment of an extraordinary sign. I have given up all my personal prayers and wishes, and I am praying day and night before God that, ‘O Merciful Lord, Your servants are weak and short-sighted. You should fulfil such a promise openly so that the people, out of ignorance, may not put the yoke of disgrace around their necks by denying Your chosen one.
“However, it is a fact that one may face different kinds of trials on such occasions. In this regard, I would like to submit very humbly that I have firm faith in the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas and by the grace of God, nothing can have an impact on it. I only want to hear the news of the fulfilment of the prophecy so that it can be communicated to others and substantiated as proof to them. Otherwise, I consider it to have been fulfilled from the time you announced it. Be that as it may, Huzooras, please consider me your servant and a devout follower, and remember me in your prayers. (Muhammad Sadiq Mufti, English Teacher, Jammu College)”
Journey to Ludhiana
It was around 1891 and I was teaching in a high school in the state of Jammu. When the summer holidays were announced at the school, I left Jammu to meet the Promised Messiahas. On the way, I came to know that the Promised Messiahas was not in Qadian but in Ludhiana. Thus, I went to Ludhiana. At that time, there were two servants with the Promised Messiahas. One of them was Hafiz Hamid Ali Sahib and the other was the uneducated Piran Ditta. Both of them were the personal servants of the Promised Messiahas and Huzooras used to give them a salary and food.
During those days in Ludhiana, there was a lot of hue and cry against the Promised Messiahas. It was basically caused by the hostility of Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi [towards Huzooras]. The religious scholars were issuing fatwas [edicts] of disbelief [against Huzooras]. Despite the opposition, a lot of people used to come and take bai‘at.
Pir Sirajul Haq Sahib was also present in Ludhiana and had taken bai‘at at the hand of the Promised Messiahas. Pir Iftikhar Ahmad Sahib and all the members of his family were also there and were engaged in the service of the Promised Messiahas. Sheikh Allah Diya Sahib (bookbinder), who had a great interest in holding discussions with the Christians, and Mir Abbas Ali, who later became an apostate, were also enthusiastically engaged in the service of the Promised Messiahas. The daughter of the Promised Messiahas named Ismat, who was around four or five years old, was also alive at that time.
The Promised Messiahas used to sit outside in the Diwan Khana [a public room detached from the house] and answer people’s questions about his beliefs or on general Islamic issues and also give lectures.
This incident happened in Ludhiana. A Maulvi Sahib standing in the marketplace was saying at the top of his voice that, “Mirza (the Promised Messiahas) is a disbeliever and Muslims are being severely harmed by him. Thus, whoever kills him will get a great reward and will go straight to paradise.” He repeated those words again and again with great fervour. Nearby, an ignorant person with a stick in his hand was listening to his speech. Those words of Maulvi Sahib had a great impact on that person and he quietly left the place and reached the house of the Promised Messiahas by asking a number of people. There was no gatekeeper and anyone who wanted to go inside would enter the house as there was no hindrance or obstruction of any kind. Coincidentally, the Promised Messiahas was giving a speech while sitting in the Diwan Khana, and several people, some of whom were his followers and some were non-devotees, were sitting and listening to the words of the Promised Messiahas. That person entered the room with his stick on his shoulder and stood by the wall and waited for the right moment to attack. The Promised Messiahas paid no attention to him and continued his speech. He too began to listen. After a few minutes, the speech had such an effect on his heart that his stick came down from his shoulder and landed on the ground in his hand and he sat down to listen to the rest of the speech. Finally, the Promised Messiahas ended his speech, and someone from the assembly said, “Huzooras, I have understood your claim and I believe in the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas and I want to become one of your followers.”
Thereafter, that person went forward and said, “I came here with the intention of killing you with this stick after being influenced by the sermon of a Maulvi Sahib, and as the Maulvi Sahib had promised, I wanted to go directly to paradise. However, [after I came here], I liked the words of your speech and I stayed to listen more and after listening to all these things, I have come to believe that Maulvi Sahib’s sermon was full of misplaced enmity. You are indeed truthful and all your words are true. I also want to become one of your followers.” The Promised Messiahas accepted his pledge of allegiance. In those days, each person used to take bai‘at individually in a separate room.
Demand for a peace pact
While I was still in Ludhiana, a well-wisher came and informed the Promised Messiahas that Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalavi had threatened the local authorities that, “Mirza Sahib’s stay here had spread a great deal of hostility in the city and there is a strong fear of a breach of peace. Thus, a peace pact should be demanded from such a person.”
The Jamaat was still in its early days and the Promised Messiahas was not accustomed to visiting and meeting the authorities. Moreover, there were no influential people on our side who would keep meeting the officials and informing them about the situation. In those circumstances, the enemies would get a chance to do such mischief. The Promised Messiah’s stay there [in Ludhiana] was not permanent, so he thought it was better to go back than to wrangle over proposals for an apt response and try to approach the authorities. Around Asr prayer, when I came to the house from outside, the Promised Messiahas was sitting on a charpoy with a few companions, including Qazi Khawaja Ali Sahib. There was no special cloth or blanket on that charpoy for the Promised Messiah. There were also two or three other charpoys, so I sat on one of them. The Promised Messiahas addressed me and said, “Mufti Sahib, we have suddenly decided to go to Amritsar, so you should also get ready. These friends will let you know as to why the decision has been made in such a hurry.” It was the first train journey on which I had the opportunity to accompany the Promised Messiahas.
First train journey
We bought the train tickets for the inter-class [i.e. the class between the second and the third]. However, there was no space in the inter-class and we had to sit in the third class. The ladies’ compartment was in the adjoining room and thus they were also seated in the third class. On the way, wherever the train stopped, I would get down from our room and go to the ladies’ room to enquire about their wellbeing and then run to the Promised Messiahas [to inform him]. The Promised Messiahas was very pleased with that and said, “Travelling is your forte.” I don’t know if it was my forte or not, as I had not travelled much, but I had a strong desire to serve the Promised Messiahas in one way or another. The seed of this love was planted in my heart by Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin Sahibra. I think that the aforementioned statement of the Promised Messiahas was a kind of prayer and pointed towards the journeys of my later life, because after entering into this Jamaat, especially after the demise of the Promised Messiahas, due to the requirements of tabligh [preaching], I had to travel a lot within India and then to Europe and America and even on my return from America, I was assigned such religious services which required me to stay out of Qadian for about nine months in a year and many times I had to travel to Bombay [now Mumbai], Calcutta, Ceylon, Kashmir, Peshawar, etc.
Revelation during the journey
Once, while sitting on the train, the Promised Messiahas said, “I have just received this revelation.” I do not remember the exact words. We witnessed the state of the Promised Messiahas while receiving that revelation and observed that the eyes of the Promised Messiahas were closed and we thought that he was semiconscious.
In the morning, the train reached Amritsar. Sheikh Noor Ahmad Sahib (owner of Riaz-e-Hind Press) was present at the station. He immediately arranged a house that was located on the western side of the Hall Bazar in a street near Kanhiya Lal’s theatre. It was a small house. The Promised Messiahas along with his family members, stayed in the room on the first floor, and we, three or four men who were with the Promised Messiahas, stayed on the ground floor. There was a clamour in the city and many people would come to meet the Promised Messiahas in order to speak for or against him.
In those days, a Maulvi named Ahmadullah Sahib of the Ahl-e-Hadith sect, who was the imam of the mosque of Ghaznavis for the Friday prayer services, had some differences with the Ghaznavis on some issues that escalated into a dispute between them. A further disagreement arose on top of their earlier disputes that the Ghaznavis wanted Maulvi Sahib to issue a fatwa of disbelief against the Promised Messiahas in his sermon, but he refrained from doing so. On Friday, the Promised Messiahas instructed me that, “You should go to the mosque of the Ghaznavis to offer Jumuah prayer and bring news from there about what is going on among these people.”
By that time, the propagation and progress of the Jamaat had not reached such a level that an order had to be issued to not pray behind non-Ahmadis, and even the distinctive name of “Ahmadiyyat” had not been suggested yet. A prominent resident of Amritsar invited the Promised Messiahas and his companions for a repast, and also invited Maulvi Ahmadullah Sahib.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in Zikr-e-Habib, pp. 9-14)