A Young Companion of the Promised Messiahas
Syed Hasanat Aḥmad Ṣāḥib
My father, Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra, was an extremely fortunate companion of the Promised Messiahas, as he was paternally the 42nd descendant of Holy Prophetsa, and was maternally the 45th descendant of Holy Prophetsa.
At a very young age he was fortunate to have attended the religious institution Dārul ‘Ulūm Deoband where he mastered in Arabic grammar.
At the age of 13, he reached Qādiān and accepted Aḥmadīyyat at the hand of the Promised Messiahas. Once Huzooras came to know that he was from Delhi, he mentioned this fact to Hazrat Ammāń Jān Ṣāḥibara who immediately identified him as belonging to the Syed family, and Syed Shāfī Ahmad Ṣāḥibra then had easy access to Huzoor’sas house. It is in this way that another descendant of Khawaja Mīr Dard Ṣāḥib joined Aḥmadīyyat. Hazrat Mīr Nasir Nawab Ṣāḥibra had already been an Aḥmadī as Hazrat Ammāń Jān Ṣāḥibara had married the Promised Messiahas.
Syed Shāfī Ahmad Ṣāḥibra was a well-spoken man, with complete command of the Urdu language, and so he was often in great demand to speak at public events. When he would attend scholarly meetings, he would win the attention of the audience due to his well-spoken manner and his fluency in the Urdu language, and people enjoyed listening to him. He generally concluded his speeches by conveying good news, and with pride, he would say that the Promised Messiahas had arrived. The moment he would mention this name, there would be a great uproar that a Qādiāni was addressing them.
There are a number of occasions that some scholars, when going to address a big meeting, would request Syed Shāfī Aḥmadra to accompany them as a relief speaker, and he would establish such a rapport with the audience that they would insist on listening to him rather than the speaker. It was only when he would mention the big news of the truthful arrival of the Promised Messiahas that the audience would become unruly.
Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra was in a way an untitled Muballigh (one who spreads the message of Islām).
On his return to Delhi from Qādiān in 1918, he started a publication Muhaqqiq, which was dedicated to publishing the arguments and documents in support of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas.
In 1922, Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra produced a book under the same title, Muhaqqiq. This was a well-received book that converted a number of readers to Aḥmadīyyat.
In a meeting I had with Maulānā Muftī Saifur-Rehman Ṣāḥib in Toronto, he told me that he came to know about Aḥmadīyyat from my father’s book Muhaqqiq. Maulānā Saifur-Rehman Ṣāḥib related that he was studying at Jāmi‘a Ashrafia Nīla Gumbad, Lahore, when his teacher advised him not to touch this book Muhaqqiq. This aroused his curiosity and led him to learn about Aḥmadīyyat. He said that he picked up the book quietly and took it home to read it. He said that the book solved a number of points and brought him to understand Aḥmadīyyat, and thereafter he also read other books including Kazzābon Ka Anjām and Qaul Sadīd.
The in-charge of the school of Dārul ‘Ulūm Deoband wrote a book to misguide people about the meaning of Khatm Nabūwwat [the finality of Prophethood], upon which Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra wrote Qaul Sadīd. This book contained six hundred verses in support of the verse of Khātamun-Nabīyyīn, and caused an uproar among the Sunni scholars.
He also wrote Lughatul Qur’ān in which he explained the meaning of difficult Arabic words and arranged these words in the order that one can find the related verses and rūkūs in the Holy Qur’ān. In addition to this, he also formatted a version of the Holy Qur’ān in such a manner that every verse had the Urdu translation under it. It took 300 pages to translate the first part of the Qur’ān in Urdu.
He also translated part of Saḥīḥ Bukhārī. In order to counter the arguments of a scholar in Delhi, known as Mirzā Hairat, he wrote a book entitled, Mirzā Hairat ka Photo. He was the author of four dozen books, and in every book he tackled one aspect or issue of Islām in a scholarly way.
In order to establish the superiority of Islām and the Holy Qur’ān for the younger generation, he wrote four novels that hold arguments about the superiority of Islām and the Holy Qur’ān. The Promised Messiahas has at one place observed that if a novel is written to convey some sound advice in a good language, then they are welcome (Malfūẓāt, Vol. 9, p. 350). These novels are:
Woh Dulha Aaya
He also wrote a novel, Bachhyaa and Krishma Ta‘līm. Both highlighted the importance of our education. On the basis of these books, Hazrat Muftī Muḥammad Sadiq Ṣāḥibra approached the American University of Kansas and this university granted an honourary doctorate to Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra.
In his magazine, Paighām Sulah, he highlighted the observation of Hazrat Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūdra about the two-nation theory.
Continued on page 24...
Continued from page 22...
In response to Mahatma Gandhi’s paper, Young India, he responded by creating a rival paper, Old India, where he opposed the Civil Disobedience Movement.
In response to an initiative of Hazrat Khalīfatul-Masīḥ IIra to counter the Hindu Movement of converting Muslims into Hindus, he wrote a paper Daʻwat Islām.
On August 6, 1923 he started a night-college to educate young Muslims on how they could face and counter the Shuddhi campaign of conversion.
Later, he brought out another publication under the name of Zalzala (earthquake), which created an uproar amongst the Hindus. He wrote a strongly worded editorial under the title, How on Ganges River Hindus Used Muslim Blood, upon which the Indian government cancelled the declaration of his paper.
In 1913, he brought out his weekly Dastkari and also a book, Colour Manufacturing in 1916. He was a prolific writer and often wrote hundreds of pages in one sitting.
Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra was fortunate enough to be able to perform Hajj four times and had access to King Sauʻūd of Saudi Arabia. Every time he went for Hajj, he was a royal guest and he used to convey to the King the difficulties that Indian Muslims were facing in terms of being able to perform Hajj. On one occasion the uncle of Dr. Professor Abdus-Salām Ṣāḥib, Chaudhary Ghulām Husain Ṣāḥib, went on Hajj with him and requested that he may also be made a royal guest. Later in the morning, Chaudhary Ghulām Husain Ṣāḥib related a dream that there is a long line of camels that are wearing garlands, and he himself interpreted the dream that there are oil deposits in the area, upon which King Sauʻūd started work of discovering oil. As such, part of the wealth of Saudi Arabia owes its existence to Aḥmadīs.
Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra was the General Secretary and Secretary Tablīgh of the Delhi Jamā‘at. Senior Aḥmadīs like Hazrat Muftī Muḥammad Ṣāḥib, Hazrat Ghulām Rasool Ṣāḥib Rajiki, Hazrat Waliullah Shah Ṣāḥib and Hazrat Ḥāfiẓ Mukhtar Aḥmad Shah Jahanpuri Ṣāḥib were his close friends, and they used to stay with him when they would come to Delhi. Aḥmadīs from Qādiān and other places, when visiting Delhi, used to stay at his house, and his house became a Langar Khāna of the Promised Messiahas. Syed Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibra was a poet, a writer, a speaker, a journalist and an exemplary Muballigh. He died on October 31, 1941 at the age of 54. His wife was Begum Shāfī Aḥmad Ṣāḥibara. He had 13 children; eight sons and five daughters. He has four surviving children, two sons and two daughters: Syed Hasanat Aḥmad, Professor Naseem Saeed, Syed Hameed Aḥmad and Syeda Razia Shāfī.
Names of some of his books are:
Kazzābon Ka Anjām
Mirzā Hairat Ka Photo
Qur’ān Hakīm Ka Urdu Tarjama
Saḥīḥ Bukhārī, translation of parts 1 to 3
The Muhaqqiq and Dūrbīn novels are available in the Aḥmadīyya bookstore.