Promised Messiah’s appearance and physique
The Promised Messiahas was slightly taller than the average height, his body was somewhat bulky, his forehead was high, and his eyes were broad, but being always half-closed owing to modesty, they would appear narrow. The face of the Promised Messiahas was bright, the chest was broad, the back was straight, and the muscles of his body were strong. There were no wrinkles on his face or body. The complexion of the Promised Messiahas was wheatish and reddish fair. When he would laugh, his face would turn red. His hair was straight, soft and shiny, hanging down to his ears. His beard was slightly longer than the length of a fist, and he would have any longer hair than this trimmed down.
Covering the face with the shimla [loose end of the turban]
Sometimes, while sitting in an assembly, the Promised Messiahas would take the shimla of his turban in his hand and put it on his mouth. I personally believe that when the Promised Messiahas used to recite the words of the glorification of God Almighty, he would cover his mouth so that the movement of his lips may not be visible to the people.
Change of dress
Once Sheikh Rahmatullah Sahib, while mentioning someone’s expenses, said before the Promised Messiahas that, “He should only have one dress for each day of the week and his expenses should not exceed this limit.” The Promised Messiahas said to him, “I use a pair of clean clothes for a week.”
Use of perfume
A pleasant fragrance of musk was always felt coming from the clothes and the blessed body of the Promised Messiahas. There would never be any kind of bad smell of perspiration or body odour, etc.
It was the regular practice of the Promised Messiahas that he would change his trousers before going to sleep at night and wear a teh-band [a loose piece of clothing wrapped around the lower half of the body]. Once the Promised Messiahas said, “It is my habit.”
Writing while walking
The Promised Messiahas would often walk on the upper floor of the house and write while walking. He would place an inkpot on the wall on one side and another one on the opposite side. He used to hold the pen in his right hand and the paper in his left hand. The Promised Messiahas would write while walking and usually read the text in a suppressed tone.
Recording revelation at night
At night, the Promised Messiahas would always keep a pen and an inkpot or a pencil at his bedside. When the Promised Messiahas received a divine revelation during the night, he would write it down in his notebook. He would write one revelation many times on the same page, so that there was no difficulty reading it in the morning, because it was written in the darkness of night.
Discussions with guests
When friends used to visit from outside [of Qadian], the Promised Messiahas would often ask them the following questions:
1. “Is there any opposition to our Jamaat in your city?” If those friends answered that there was no opposition, the Promised Messiahas would regret and say, “If there is no opposition, then how will there be progress [of our Jamaat]? There should at least be some opposition in the beginning.”
2. The second question the Promised Messiahas used to ask was, “Is there a mosque of Ahmadis [in your city]?” He would say, “A place must be built for the worship of God, even if it is only a small one.”
3. The Promised Messiahas would also ask them, “How much time do you have and how many days will you stay here [in Qadian]?”
The Promised Messiahas had a habit of getting his moustache trimmed every fifth day. He would also get henna applied to his hair and beard by the barber. The colour of his hair would look reddish due to henna. In the last years, Hazrat Mir Hamid Shah Sahibra Sialkoti prepared a combination that, when mixed with henna, served as a remedy against colds and flu. That combination possessed another quality as well; it would give a blackish colour to the hair. Owing to its use, the hair of the Promised Messiahas would look black in the final years of his life.
[Use of a staff]
It was the usual practice of the Promised Messiahas that he always kept a staff in his hand when he would go outside of the house. When the Promised Messiahas used to go on a journey, for a walk or to the central mosque for Friday prayer, the staff would always be in his hand.
At a particular time during the day, the Promised Messiahas used to separate himself from everyone for an hour or two. The house where we all stayed in Gurdaspur had a small room on the left side, next to the entrance on the ground floor, which used to serve as a restroom. However, there was enough room for restrooms on the top floor of the house. Thus, the Promised Messiahas got that ground floor room cleared and cleaned. It was washed thoroughly and a new floor was installed on it. The Promised Messiahas would bolt its door from the inside and stay there completely isolated for two or three hours in the afternoon.
Listening to poems
If a friend wanted to read out a poem or a work of his, the Promised Messiahas used to listen to it in his assembly. Once an Ahmadi, named Abdul Rahman Faridabadi recited his poem, which made everyone in the gathering laugh, and Huzooras also could not help laughing either.
Prerequisites of poetry
Dr Abdul Hakeem Sahib, who later became an apostate, once recited a poem of his which was incorrect and certain letters were unnecessarily stressed for adjusting its rhythm. When Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra expressed his dislike for that [poem], the Promised Messiahas smiled and said, “Maulvi Sahib, have you not heard this:
ضرورات شعرى چو ضرور شد
تشدید حروف چرا نباشد
[‘When the prerequisites of poetry demand, why should the letters not be stressed.’]”
The Promised Messiahas would use the Gregorian calendar to record the dates in his writings. He would rarely use the dates of the Hijri calendar. The reason behind it is that, generally, the practice of using the Gregorian calendar has become so common in the country that everyone remembers its date and frequently makes use of it. On the other hand, when other formats are used, it is difficult for the readers to quickly grasp the exact day and year.
Anjuman is subordinate
Towards the end of the year 1906, an announcement by a doctor was published in the newspapers Badr and Al Hakam, in which a medicine for growing a moustache was mentioned. Thereupon, some members of the Anjuman passed a resolution in a meeting that the editors [of the Jamaat’s newspapers] should not publish such announcements. I was really hurt about it. It was only a trivial matter. As the announcement was published in Badr, if it had been brought to my attention, I would have published a note saying that it was a mistake. There was no need to present the matter in a meeting and pass a resolution on it. I found an opportunity to meet the Promised Messiahas in person and expressed my displeasure regarding the matter. The Promised Messiahas said, “These people are my subordinates, so do not pay much attention to them. There is no harm done to you.”
In the life of the Promised Messiahas, one of the mischiefs that the opponents and enemies of the Jamaat used to do was that they would spread false news that, “Mirza has got the plague,” or that, “Mirza is suffering from leprosy.” In order to convince the public, those who spread such propaganda used to concoct a false story that, “We ourselves went to Qadian and saw with our own eyes that Mirza had bandages on his hands due to leprosy.” They used to stop the visitors on the way, on the train and on the road, saying, “You should not go to Qadian as there is nothing there.” Some weak men would be deceived by them and go back. However, most people would stay strong and determined. Upon reaching Qadian, when the lies of their opponents were revealed to them, they would be very surprised — how is it possible for a person to be so untruthful. The people would mention those incidents before the Promised Messiahas and, while kissing his hands, say, “The enemies spread a lot of false news about these holy hands, but they all turned out to be lies.”
Accommodating friends in the house
During the days of the plague, the Promised Messiahas gave some friends a place to stay in his house. Consequently, this humble one and Maulvi Syed Sarwar Shah Sahibra were accommodated in the small rooms and the yard on the ground floor.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in Zikr-e-Habib, pp. 25-29)