Memories (Episode 36)

A mountain of a difficulty before me was that literature filling entire bookshelves had already been written regarding Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers. Their beliefs also had numerous aspects to write about. It was thus not easy to collect and summarize that entire material into a single piece of writing. Secondly, only those easy-to-understand arguments had to be selected which Members of the Assembly could comprehend without delving into technical intricacies. Thirdly, I considered it paramount to take utmost care when attributing anything to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers, as well to avoid quoting anything out of context, so that nobody could accuse this statement of incorrect attribution or quoting out of context.

I therefore supplicated to Allah for help and began the work relying solely upon Him. Before beginning, I found it essential to personally read Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s writings in which he claims to be a Prophet. May Allah Ta’ala shower His mercies upon Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Hayat Sahib and Hadhrat Maulana Abdur Raheem Ash’ar Sahib; they had devoted their entire lives for protection of the belief in the Finality of Prophethood. They had brought cartons of books which included everything written by Mirza and his followers, to such an extent that they even had original copies of very old editions of their daily newspapers “Al-Fazl” and “Review of Religions”. With respect to those aspects of their beliefs which I found necessary to elucidate upon, I personally read the original books with help from these two elders, and ended up going through hundreds of pages. Thereafter I began writing relying upon Allah. Allah Ta’ala has made my nature such that once I begin some work, I become completely engrossed in it. I thus became so absorbed in this work that other than eating and prayers, the heart and mind would be preoccupied with it the entire time. Dear honourable Maulana Samee ul-Haq Sahib also worked on his part day and night, though he was staying at his friend’s house near the hotel. On the other hand, the Members of Assembly on whose behalf this statement was to be presented would come to the hotel every evening after Asr, and would listen to whatever we had written in the past day, and also provide suggestions. Of them, besides Hadhrat Binnori (may Allah’s mercy be upon him), Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Mahmood Sahib, Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Haq Sahib (of Akora Khattak), Hadhrat Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani Sahib and Ahmad Sahib are especially worthy of mention. The draft would be immediately updated with whatever suggestions or instructions they would provide (which were not a lot).

Meanwhile, for some reason it was decided to present this statement in a book form to the Assembly within the next ten days. It was therefore necessary for its typesetting to proceed simultaneously (computerized composing was not in vogue in those days). A consultation was held regarding who should be chosen to do its typesetting. I requested Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Mahmood Sahib (may Allah’s mercy be upon him): “If you were to request Hadhrat Sayyid Nafees Shah Sahib (may Allah’s mercy be upon him), it is hoped that he would accept it immediately.” Hadhrat Mufti Sahib replied: “Nafees is, after all, nafees (elegant)”, and thereafter he telephoned Hadhrat Nafees Shah Sahib, who then gladly arrived at the hotel with his team. Whatever would be written by evening, his companions would immediately begin its typesetting.

Regarding those followers of the Qadiyani group who believed in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a Prophet and considered anyone not accepting his Prophethood as a disbeliever, it was clear even to common Muslims that they could not be within the fold of Islam. However, regarding followers of the Lahori Group, who apparently reject Mirza as a Prophet and consider him only a religious leader, many people entertained doubts as to how these could be considered out of the fold of Islam. In reply to this, it is said, and rightly so, that Mirza’s disbelief is clear and confirmed because of his claim to Prophethood. Thus, how could anyone who take him to be their religious leader be considered to fall within the fold of Islam? Besides this, it is also rightly pointed out that the Lahori Group’s leader Muhammad Ali Lahori himself believed and proclaimed Mirza to be a Prophet until 1914. He began distancing himself from this belief only after the death of Nur ud-Deen, when the issue of succession arose.

While these points are correct in themselves, I thought that since they believed in every word of Mirza to be true, they definitely believed in those claims of his as well in which he claims to be a Nabi or a Rasool. Therefore, even after 1914, they would surely declare him to be a Prophet in some way or the other. If any of their writings were found in which they declare this, the reality of their beliefs would become more manifest to the people. I therefore began perusing through their publications after 1914. Their book “An-Nubuwwah Fee al-Islam” is written after 1914. I read almost that entire book and it became clear as day that even after 1914 they believed in Mirza to be a Prophet. I therefore included extracts from that book into the statement which clearly show that in reality there is no significant difference between them and the Qadiyani group.

Though I was busy day and night preparing the statement, it was a time when passionate public gatherings in support of demands regarding upholding the belief in Finality of Prophethood were taking place throughout the country. In Rawalpindi and surrounding areas as well, major gatherings would take place almost every day. Organizers of those gatherings would often ask me to participate in them and deliver speeches, but I would excuse myself due to the writing work I was busy with. One time I was sitting with Hadhrat Binnori (may his secret be sanctified) for some food gathering when one of the organizers requested Hadhrat: “Hadhrat! Today’s gathering is quite important. Please ask Taqi to participate and deliver a speech.” Hadhrat replied: “O servant of God! Take work from people according to what is appropriate for them. Do you have a shortage of speakers that you ask him to deliver a speech? If I send him with you in public gatherings then who will do the work he is doing?” After this nobody asked me to participate in those public gatherings.

Dear honourable Maulana Samee ul-Haq Sahib (may Allah keep him in safety and good health[1]) possessed an ever-lively and spirited personality. Despite working hard day and night, his buoyant personality would remain high-spirited at all times, which was no less than a blessing for me. Whenever I would feel physically or mentally exhausted, just a few moments in his company would breathe a new spirit into me. As has been mentioned before, perhaps it was due to a lack of resources as well as frugality in using them that only Daal would be cooked morning and evening for several days straight. Though we did not care for these things due to the significance of the work, and we were anyway used to simple food in our Madrasa life, the two of us would anyway joke about the experience of eating Daal every day. When several days passed in this manner, I one day asked the person in charge of food: “What’s cooking today?” He replied: “Daal!” Spontaneously and in a nervous tone, the words escaped my mouth: “Today again?” Maulana Samee ul-Haq Sahib made this sentence of mine a separate topic of his jokes, and for a long time would enjoy taunting me with it. In reply, I would taunt him by quoting a sentence of Hadhrat Binnori, the background of which is that one afternoon, at lunch time, Hadhrat Binnori sent Maulana Samee ul-Haq to buy a watermelon. He returned with such a large watermelon that it was difficult for him to even carry it. However, when it was cut after lunch, it turned out to be entirely white from inside. Hadhrat Binnori was astonished and said to Maulana Samee ul-Haq Sahib: “O servant of God! You brought such a large watermelon but did not even check if its ripe? What was the need to buy such a large watermelon?” Maulana Samee ul-Haq Sahib was informal with Hadhrat Binnori to envious levels. He replied: “Hadhrat! You have a sensitive personality. If I brought a small watermelon, I feared that you would be upset. How would I know that you neither like small nor large watermelons?” Hadhrat smiled at these words and sighed in helplessness with the words: “Indeed, cleverness is a strange being.”

Anyway! Those were very memorable days. Due to the presence of Hadhrat Binnori, a beautiful vase of scholars and thinkers would gather there. Hadhrat Sayyid Nafees Shah Sahib, though he is noted as a great calligrapher, was a person with a spiritually enlivened heart. Besides supervising the printing process, various scholarly and literary gems would emanate from his tongue. His companionship of about ten days mushroomed into an extremely pleasurable and affable relationship, which, with the grace of Allah, continued until his demise.

In this manner, working day and night, the preparation, review and typesetting of the statement all happened at the same time. However, the time for submitting it approached while several points remained to be elucidated upon. Finally, one night I sat down to write after dinner and became so immersed that time flew away unnoticeably, and the entire night faded away writing. It was raining during Fajr Azan and I was writing the last part. In the meanwhile, the door of the room next door opened and Hadhrat Binnori (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) entered my room, and asked if I was still writing. I submitted: “Hadhrat! Time flew and Alhamdulillah I am now near the end.” Hadhrat prayed for me and returned to his room. Later, he telephoned my respected father and said: “Hadhrat! We were reminded of the Bahawalpur Case. The way you spent an entire night writing the statement, last night Taqi Miyan also did not sleep at all and spent the entire night writing.” Later, in the editorial note that Hadhrat Binnori wrote at the time of our respected father’s demise, he referred to this incident in the following words:

“(Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib) was the right-hand-man of Imam al-Asr Shah Sahib, and it was through his pen that Hadhrat Shaikh’s (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) intricate and deep explanations were compiled into simple Urdu, which is famed as “Muqaddimah-e-Bahawalpur” (The Bahawalpur Case). He informed me: “During this work, there was one night I was so engrossed in writing that I continued from after Isha straight until morning to complete it.[2]” In this manner, he remained the focus of Hadhrat Shaikh’s prayers and care. For the Movement created in 1967 with respected to the Qadiani issue in which Allah Ta’ala took work from the writer of these words due to the blessings of being in Hadhrat Shaikh’s (Hadhrat Kashmiri (may Allah’s mercy be upon him)) servitude, I called Hadhrat Mufti Sahib’s (Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) son dear honourable brother Maulana Taqi Sahib to Rawalpindi. While compiling “Mas’ala-Qadianiyat Mein Ummat-e-Muslima Ka Mawqif” (“Qadianism on Trial: The Case of the Muslim Ummah”), one time he spent an entire night writing it without getting a moment’s rest. I said to Hadhrat Mufti Sahib on phone, and later in person: “Allah Ta’ala created an exact resemblance in this to Muqaddimah-e-Bahawalpur and your assistance to Hadhrat Shaikh”. Hadhrat Mufti Sahib was quite glad to hear this. Allah Ta’ala made respected brother a true successor of his honourable father. فطوبي له هذه السعادة وهنيئاً له بهذه الخلافة (Al-Bayyinaat Magazine, Quoted in Mufti-e-A’zam Edition of Al-Balagh Magazine, Volume 1, Page 31)

When the statement was completed in two hundred pages and it was time to give it a name, people proposed various passionate names. However, Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Mahmood Sahib said: “It should be given a serious academic name.” Thereafter he himself proposed the name: “Millat-e-Islamiyyah Ka Mawqif” (The Stance of the Muslim Ummah). He then said to me: “While it was necessary to keep the tone of the actual statement serious and not to get carried away by emotions so that the evidences remain weighty, there is no doubt that since the topic concerns the honour and Prophethood of the Leader of the Two Worlds (ﷺ) and belief in the Finality of Prophethood, it is an emotional matter for a Muslim. Therefore, write a page or two at the end of this statement as a heartfelt appeal to Members of the Assembly keeping in mind this sentimental aspect. There is no harm if this appeal carries an emotional tone.” To this end, I added two pages at the end of the statement in accordance with Hadhrat Mufti Sahib’s instructions.

Anyway! At this lightning speed, this two-hundred-page book was compiled, typeset, printed and bound in ten days.

Since the Qadiani Group’s leader Mirza Nasir Ahmad and the Lahori Group’s leader Sadr ud-Deen Sahib would also give their statements in the Assembly and would also be cross-examined, after compilation of the book it was proposed to compile those questions as well which were to be asked during the cross-examination. While I returned to Karachi, Mirza Nasir and Sadr ud-Deen Sahib’s statement and cross-examination continued, with intervals, from 5th of August to 28th of August. The Attorney-General of the time, General Yahya Bakhtiar, was to conduct the cross-examination. Hadhrat Maulana Zafar Ahmad Ansari and Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Mahmood Sahib greatly helped him in compiling the questions to be asked. Details of this cross-examination have been published by Aalmi Majlis Khatm-e-Nubuwwat titled “Qawmi Assembly Mein Qadiani Mas’alay Par Behes Kee Musaddiqa Report”.

After both of their statements and their cross-examinations, on 29th and 30th August Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Mahmood Sahib (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) read the statement which had been published titled “Millat-e-Islamiyyah Ka Mawqif” (The Stance of the Muslim Ummah”).

Finally! In September 1974, both chambers of the Assembly fulfilled this long-sought plea of the Muslims by introducing an Amendment to the Constitution and declaring both groups of the Mirzais as non-Muslim minorities. In relation to this, Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianvi Sahib (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) had said to me: “We had some differences of opinion regarding the partition of India, but after this event we have come to realize the true value of Pakistan, because this judgment would have been impossible in unpartitioned India.”

[1] Regrettably, now when these lines are being published, we have to write (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) with his name. Allah Ta’ala called him unto Himself by granting him martyrdom.
[2] The details of this incident that I personally heard from my respected father are like this: In 1926, a Muslim lady residing in Ahmadpur East, Bahawalpur instituted a suit in the Bahawalpur Court to annul her marriage after her husband became a Mirzai. After moving through lower courts for seven years, this case finally reached the Special Judge. In 1933, the Special Judge wrote to the Court that further investigation of this matter was required; statements from both sides should be taken and only then should a judgment be made.
At this point, the Qadiyani leaders spent a large amount of money to prepare Qadiyani witnesses and lawyers, but the Muslim claimant was a poor lady; it was beyond her means to gather Muslim scholars and have their statements presented. However, the Vice Chancellor of Jamiya Bahawalpur Maulana Muhammad Hasan Sahib wrote a letter to notable scholars of the country and invited them to act as witnesses. Imam al-Asr Hadhrat Maulana Sayyid Anwar Shah Sahib Kashmiri (may his secret be sanctified) was also invited. Due to the significance of this matter, he decided to travel to Bahawalpur and took Hadhrat Maulana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Sahib Chandpuri with him, and also asked my respected father Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) to go along. Coincidentally, my paternal grandfather Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yaseen Sahib (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) was sick in those days and he had no other male child besides our respected father to take care of him. However, Hadhrat Shah Sahib (may his secret be sanctified) said: “You come along. I will pray for your father. InshaAllah he will recover.”
Thus, my respected father went to Bahawalpur along with Hadhrat Shah Sahib and remained in Bahawalpur for about twenty-five days. During this time, with Hadhrat Shah Sahib’s instructions, the first statement was made by my respected father which continued for three days, and he was then cross-examined for two days. This statement comprises sixty pages and has been published.
Thereafter Hadhrat Shah Sahib’s statement continued for three days. This was not a mere statement; a sea of gnosis poured forth from his tongue. As a result, the court minute takers were incapable of penning it. Later, the Judge informed that Hadhrat Shah Sahib’s statement could not be written down and so the file was empty regarding it. He then asked us to present his statement in written form. At that point, Hadhrat Shah Sahib commanded my respected father to write it. Complying with this instruction, our respected father began penning the statement. My respected father (may his secret be sanctified) used to say: “Writing a statement on behalf of Hadhrat Shah Sahib was quite a challenge for me. However, with his prayers Allah Ta’ala helped accomplish it.” It was during this time that one night my respected father (may his secret be sanctified) continued writing the entire night. After Fajr Azan, when Hadhrat Shah Sahib entered from the room next door, he found him still writing. Our respected father said: “I am writing the final lines”. At this, Hadhrat prayed for him profusely. Finally, Alhamdulillah the judgement was made in favour of the Muslims on the 27th of February 1935, which was a first on this issue. Hadhrat Binnori has referred to this incident.