[Imams for leading salat in Qadian]
In the early days when I went to Qadian, there would be only three to four worshipers in Masjid Mubarak and Hafiz Moinuddin Sahib used to lead the prayers. When Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin Sahibra migrated to Qadian in 1902, the Promised Messiahas appointed him as the imam in the [Ahmadiyya] mosques and he used to lead the prayers.
([The date 1902] seems to be a scribal error as Hazrat Maulana Hakim Nuruddin Sahibra had migrated to Qadian by March 1893. — Publisher)
Thereafter, when Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra also migrated to Qadian, Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin Sahibra requested him to lead the prayers and he continued to be the imam till his final years of life.
The Promised Messiahas would often perform the Jumuah prayer in Masjid Mubarak [adjacent to his residence] because of his health condition. As all the worshipers could not be accommodated in Masjid Mubarak, the Jumuah prayers were also held in Masjid Aqsa on a regular basis. In Masjid Aqsa, Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin Sahibra used to lead the Jumuah, and Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra used to lead the Friday prayers in Masjid Mubarak. When Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra would go out of town and Maulvi Muhammad Ahsan Sahibra was present in Qadian, he would lead the Jumuah prayers [in Masjid Mubarak]. When Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra migrated and settled in Qadian, he served as the imam and would lead the prayers.
Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra used to regularly recite basmalah out loud before reciting Surah al-Fatihah, and in the last rakat of Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha, after ruku, he would generally recite some prayers aloud. For example, he used to recite:
رَبَّنَا افۡتَحۡ بَيۡنَنَا وَبَيۡنَ قَوۡمِنَا بِالۡحَقِّ وَاَنۡتَ خَيۡرُ الۡفٰتِحِيۡنَ
[“O our Lord, decide Thou between us and between our people with truth, and Thou art the Best of those who decide.”]
رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ اَزۡوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيّٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ اَعۡيُنٍ وَّاجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ اِمَامًا
[“Our Lord, grant us of our wives and children the delight of our eyes, and make us a model for the righteous.”]
اَللّٰهُمَّ انْصُرْ مَنْ نَصَرَ دِيْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ صلّي اللّٰه عليه وسلّم وَاجْعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ وَ اخْذُلْ مَنْ خَذَلَ دِيْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ صلّي اللّٰه عليه وسلّم وَلَا تَجْعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ
[“O Allah help those who help the religion of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and make me one of them; and humiliate those who humiliate the religion of Muhammadsa and do not make me one of them.”]
اَللّٰهُمَّ اَيِّدْ الْإِسْلَامَ وَالْمُسْلِمِيْنَ بِالْإِمَامَ الْحَاكِمِ الْعَادِلِ
[“O Allah, support Islam and the Muslims with a Hakim and Adil (Judge and Just Arbiter) Imam.”]
In the absence of Hazrat Maulvi [Abdul Karim] Sahibra, whilst he would be on a journey or could not come for salat due to some other reasons, Maulvi Hakim Fazluddin Sahibra, this humble one or a certain other person was called by the Promised Messiahas to lead the prayer. The Promised Messiahas himself would not [lead the prayers]. After the demise of Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra, Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin Sahib, Khalifatul Masih Ira, always [led the prayers] as an imam.
[Hakim Fazluddin Sahib]
Hakim Fazluddin Sahibra, who was my compatriot and a benefactor, may Allah grant him high ranks in paradise, was one of the early companions of the Promised Messiahas. He was a Hafiz [one who has committed the entire Holy Quran to memory] and a scholar of religious sciences. On certain occasions, he also used to be the imam of salat. Hakim Sahibra had the problem of flatulence due to haemorrhoids in the later years of his life and thus his ablution would not last. Consequently, he used to perform the ablution once and start his prayer, and then he would continue to pray despite the repeated discharge of flatus. He would perform a fresh ablution for each prayer. During the days of his illness, the Promised Messiahas once asked him, “Hakim Sahib! Please lead us in prayer.” He said, “Huzoor! You know that my ablution does not last.” The Promised Messiahas smiled and said, “Is your prayer deemed valid or not?” He said, “As far as this issue is concerned, my prayer is considered valid.” The Promised Messiahas said, “If your prayer is deemed valid, then ours will be considered valid as well, so please lead us in prayer.”
[The Promised Messiah’s manner of leading the prayer]
In the beginning, when there were not more than three or four worshipers at the time of prayer in Qadian, Hafiz Moinuddin Sahib in Masjid Mubarak and Mian Jan Muhammad Sahib Kashmiri used to lead the prayers in Masjid Aqsa as an imam. It has been narrated that sometimes the Promised Messiahas used to lead the prayer, but this happened before I came here [in Qadian]. In the last years of his life, when the Promised Messiahas mostly could not come out, he used to lead the women of his family in Maghrib and Isha prayers combined. As an imam of salat, the Promised Messiahas would neither recite the basmalah out loud nor perform rafa yadain [raise hands more than once while offering salat], rather he would fold his arms on his chest and raise his index finger in tashahhud. Apparently, the Promised Messiahas would perform the rest of the prayer in the manner of the Hanafis.
[Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahib]
Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra always recited the basmalah out loud in the prayer and in the last rakat, he would stand up after ruku‘ and recite some prayers aloud. The Promised Messiahas and other elders of Islam prayed for years behind Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra and this is the reason why some companions of that time, like Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Sahibra, missionary to Mauritius, still follow the same style.
Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra was a very zealous person and used to strictly stop people from doing bad deeds and draw their attention towards good deeds. One day, while sitting in the clinic, he stopped Mian Allahdin Philosopher Sahib from doing something, but he resisted. Consequently, a strong man present there caught him and beat him. The Maulvi Sahib also beat him. The Philosopher Sahib made a very loud sound and crying aloud he passed through the yard and entered the street where the Promised Messiahas could hear his voice. Hearing his cries, the Promised Messiahas sent a man and inquired about the matter. He then sent him some money and food and assured him that those who had caused the harm would be held accountable. A message was also sent to Maulvi Sahibra and he was questioned about the matter. It was summer. When the Promised Messiahas came for Maghrib prayer, he was walking on the rooftop of the first floor of Masjid Mubarak, which had not been extended by that time, and his face was red. The Promised Messiahas admonished Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra and said, “How was it appropriate for you to dare to do such a thing when the Messenger of God is among you?” Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra was very ashamed. He cried and apologised. Consequently, the Promised Messiahas sat on the shah-nasheen [an elevated platform] and raised his hands to pray and the whole congregation prayed and many cried. Everyone had a strong emotional effect and Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra called the Philosopher Sahib and apologised to him and made him happy by giving him something.
Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra had a healthy body, was of short stature, but was disabled in one foot. Due to that, he used to walk with the help of a stick. He was disabled in one eye and always wore glasses. He had birthmarks on his face, but he was very good-looking and had a very strong voice. His voice was very loud and pleasant. When he would recite the Holy Quran in the Fajr prayer, his voice was heard in entire Qadian and all the listeners enjoyed it very much.
[Mufti Muhammad Sadiq]
At the end of 1890, I [Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahibra] entered into the bai‘at of the Promised Messiahas. After that, as long as I was employed in Jammu, I used to visit Qadian almost every summer and sometimes I would attend the service of the Promised Messiahas twice a year.
After passing the FA examination in 1895, which I passed privately from Jammu, in the months of August and September, I left employment in Jammu State and joined the Lahore Islamia School. After working there for six months, I became a clerk in the office of the Accountant General, Punjab, Lahore, and remained there until my migration, which took place in January 1901. When I moved to Lahore, I was able to visit Qadian more frequently.
When I left the job in Jammu and decided to take up a job in Lahore and consulted with the elders about this matter, they all appreciated it and said that the main reason for endorsing it was that in Lahore, the opportunity for excelling in knowledge and advancing in other fields was very high. However, when I presented this matter before the Promised Messiahas, Huzoor liked it and said that the reason for appreciating it was that Lahore was closer to Qadian than Jammu.
Whenever I used to come to Qadian, whether for a day or for three or four days, I would get the opportunity to do some religious service. I would also get special delight in worshipping and praying. Consequently, my mind gradually shifted away from worldly activities and the duties of the government job and I felt the desire to give up my employment and move to Qadian and perform some religious service.
It was probably the year 1898 and I was living in the neighbourhood of Mozang, Lahore, as that place was near the office of the Accountant General. I sent the first written request to the Promised Messiahas to allow me to discontinue my job and migrate to Qadian. In response to this, the Promised Messiahas wrote to me that, “It is necessary for a believer to stay في ما أقام اللّٰه [‘where Allah has made him stay’]. That is, where Allah the Exalted has made him stand and provided him sustenance, he should stand there with patience. Unless there arises a reason for you to be called to Qadian for some work, [you should stay there]. However, since you have decided to migrate, you will continue to get its reward.”
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in Zikr-e-Habib, pp. 17-21)