Journey to Jammu
Hazrat Mirza had shown no interest in farming and the associated litigation
that inevitably ensued. As an alternative, his father then began to
consider a career for him in the bureaucracy. On the advice of a nephew
and the strength of his contacts in the State of Kashmir, where he himself
had served meritoriously, he directed Hazrat Mirza to proceed to Jammu
for finding suitable employment. Accordingly, Hazrat Mirza and Syed
Muhammad Ali Shah set out for Jammu, traveling by way of Kalanoor.
On the way, as was customary with him, Hazrat Mirza was completely
engrossed in his devotions to Allah and had little consideration for his
own person. While crossing a stream near Kalanoor, he lost a shoe and did
not even notice it until somebody pointed it out to him several miles further
on in the journey. Finally, they reached Jammu.
Hazrat Mirza, however, could not bring himself to accept State
employment because he detested the flattery and courtier mannerism
required of employees in the principalities of India. He spent his time
there in prayer and recitation of the Quran. When his father learnt of this,
he sent a relative to bring him back to Qadian.
Employment in Sialkot
Employment with the British Government offered a more dignified
bureaucratic career and Hazrat Mirza’s father next used his contacts to
place him in a clerical job in the District courts of Sialkot. This was the
year 1864 C.E. and for the next four years, Hazrat Mirza lived and worked
in Sialkot. During this period, he fulfilled the rights and obligations due
to God, his superior officers, and to the public in the best possible manner.
He earned tributes for his righteousness, honesty, piety and regard for
duty from both friends and foes.
A description of Hazrat Mirza’s life in Sialkot is vividly portrayed in
a letter written by Professor Emeritus Syed Mir Hassan, an eminent scholar
of Persian and Arabic,1 and a published author. Sheikh Yaqub Ali
Turab, editor of Al-Hakam, published it in his newspaper. I reproduce this
letter in its entirety because it is a testimonial from a person who was not
a disciple of Hazrat Mirza but who wrote the facts as he saw them.
Syed Mir Hassan’s letter
In 1864 C.E., Hazrat Mirza accepted employment in Sialkot and
came to live here. He possessed a reclusive temperament and
abhorred the waste of time in idle and frivolous conversations
usual in most social gatherings. He, therefore, kept himself aloof
from such company.
His frequent companion and best friend, if he had one, was the
lawyer Lala Bheem Sen, whose maternal grandfather, Deputy
Mithan Lal, was extra assistant commissioner in Batala. Mirza
sahib knew him from Batala and they continued their friendship
in Sialkot. Lala sahib had an affable temperament, an open mind
and mastery of the Persian language, and these qualities, additionally,
earned him the respect of Mirza sahib as a fellow scholar.
Initially, Mirza sahib’s colleagues in the office were unaware of his
literary talents. In the early part of the summer that year, an Arab
youth, by the name of Muhammad Saleh, arrived in the city and was
suspected of spying. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Parkinson,
who later became Commissioner of Rawalpindi, summoned
Muhammad Saleh to his office for interrogation. An interpreter was
needed. Since Mirza sahib had complete mastery over written and
spoken Arabic, he was called in as an interpreter and directed to
translate the questions into Arabic and the answers into Urdu so that
the officer could write them down. Mirza sahib performed this task
admirably and people began to realize his literary accomplishments.
56 THE GREAT REFORMER
1 This author was also a student of Syed Mir Hassan and studied Persian and Arabic from
Through the efforts of Maulvi Elahi Baksh, Chief District
Inspector of Schools, night classes in English were started for the
clerical staff of the courts. Mirza sahib joined this class and completed
the study of one or two primers of English.2
Mirza sahib was extremely fond of religious discussions and frequently
debated with Christian missionaries. Amongst the missionaries
he debated was Reverend Elisha, an Indian priest who resided
in South Hajipura. During the debate, the Reverend contended that,
“Salvation cannot be achieved without accepting Christianity.”
Mirza sahib retorted, “Define salvation and what you understand by
it in a comprehensive manner.” Reverend Elisha could not give a
detailed reply, and quickly ended the debate. His final remarks
were, “I have not studied this kind of logic.”
Another Christian clergyman Mirza sahib debated frequently was
Reverend Butler M.A., a learned scholar who lived near village
Gohadpur. Once Reverend Butler commented, “The secret of the
virgin birth is that Jesus was born of a woman without human
intervention of a man, who is a sinner, and thus Jesus remained
unpolluted by human sins.” Mirza sahib replied, “But Mary was
from the human race, then how could Jesus remain unpolluted by
the sins of humanity. Furthermore, it was really a woman that
instigated Adam to eat the forbidden fruit and become a sinner. To
keep Jesus unpolluted by sin, the need of a woman should have
2 This author submits that Mir Hassan’s knowledge in this matter may not be totally reliable.
Hazrat Mirza may have started to learn English but it appears that his preoccupation
with the remembrance of Allah prevented him from making progress in it. At the
time when I got to know Hazrat Mirza, he did not have any knowledge of English and
whatever he may have learnt earlier was completely forgotten by then.
Much later, when his following had increased into thousands and his health was
continually indifferent, he did try to study English from Mufti Muhammad Sadiq. His
motivation was to develop the communication skills for proselytizing among the
Europeans but he did not develop sufficient interest in the language to persist. He
would say, “Learning the English language is just a matter of forty prayers in the
Tahajjud.” He had already experienced this with Arabic when, as a result of his supplications,
Allah blessed him with such a superior knowledge of this language that he was
able to challenge Arabs and non-Arabs to match their literary skills with his. He, however,
gave up his intention to study English and commented, “If I proselytize in this
language as well then nothing would be left for my friends. I leave this aspect for my
Movement so that its members can earn a reward by joining in this jihad (effort).”
been dispensed with as well.” The Reverend had no answer to this.
The Reverend Butler held Mirza sahib in high esteem and conversed
with him very respectfully. He had genuine affection for
Mirza sahib. When Reverend Butler was returning to England, he
came to the Deputy Commissioner’s office for a farewell visit.
When the Deputy Commissioner enquired about the reason for his
visit, he replied that he had come to meet with Mirza sahib for he
was planning to go home to England and wanted to visit him one
last time. He visited Mirza sahib at his place of work and sat on
the ground with him. After conversing with him for some time, he
Seeing that Mirza sahib was extremely fond of debating missionaries,
Murad Beg, a resident of Jullandar who was a writer and wrote
under the pen name of Mirza Shakista, and later under the name
Muwahhid, advised him that it may be beneficial for him to correspond
with Sir Syed Ahmad, who had written a commentary on the
Bible. Accordingly, Mirza sahib wrote a letter in Arabic to Sir Syed.
Amongst his colleagues, Mirza sahib had a lot of affection for the
late Allah Daad, a former record keeper of the office. From the
religious personalities of the city, he was extremely fond of
Maulvi Mahbub Alam, a pious recluse and a Sufi of the
During his stay in Sialkot, Mirza sahib shared a small apartment
with Hakim Munsab Ali, deed writer by profession. The apartment
was in a bazaar, not far away from the clinic and pharmacy
of Hakim Hassam-ud-Din and this created the opportunity for the
two to get acquainted. Mirza sahib taught Hakim sahib some portions
of two books of medicine, Qanuncha and Mujaz.
Mirza sahib did not like the idea of being an employee and considered
becoming a legal attorney. He studied law and sat for the
qualifying exam to become an attorney but was not successful.
How could he be successful? He was not cut out for worldly
affairs. How true is the Persian saying:
Every person has been made for a special task.
58 THE GREAT REFORMER
At that time, Punjab University had just been established and a
position was available for a professor of Arabic with a salary of
one hundred Rupees. I (i.e. Maulana Syed Mir Hassan) requested
Mirza sahib to apply for the position because his knowledge of
Arabic was so complete that I had no doubt he would be selected
for the job. He said, ‘I do not want to be a professor because most
people misuse their knowledge and make it into an instrument of
mischief and illegal acts. I fear the threat in the verse: “Gather
together those who did wrong and their associates.” (37:22) This
reply clearly shows the purity of his soul.
Once somebody enquired why Prophets did not have wet dreams.
Mirza sahib replied, “Because Prophets never have anything but
pure thoughts in their mind, whether awake or sleeping. They do
not let impure ideas touch their hearts and hence do not have wet
Conversation once turned to dress. A group argued that pants that
were loose at the ankle, as were commonly worn in India, were
preferable to pants that were tight at the ankle (like harem pants).
Others held the opposite viewpoint. Mirza sahib stated, “For the
purpose of hiding nakedness, pants that are tight at the ankles are
preferable because such pants conceal more completely, and the
tight fit at the ankles hides the nakedness even from the earth.”
All those present liked his reply.
In 1868, Mirza sahib resigned from service, for which he had no
great affection, and left Sialkot. He visited here again in 1877 and
stayed with Lala Bheem Sen. During his stay, he was also a guest
at the house of Hakim Mir Hassam-ud-Din for a meal.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (may Allah grant him protection) had started
writing a commentary on the Holy Quran that year and I had
received his commentary on three Rukus (paragraphs). Sheikh
Allah Dad and I went to see Mirza sahib at the house of Lala
Bheem Sen, and the conversation turned to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
and his commentary. I said that I had received the commentary on
three Rukus, which contain a discussion on prayer and revelation.
Mirza sahib said, “When you come tomorrow, please bring the
commentary with you.” The next day when I visited him, he heard
the commentary on both the topics and was not pleased with the
discussion. He did not like the commentary.
At that time, according to my estimate, Mirza sahib was between
24 and 28 years old. Thus in 1864, his age was not more than 28
Writer – Mir Hassan.
A supplementary letter of Professor Emeritus Syed Mir Hassan
Another letter of Syed Mir Hassan published by Sheikh Turab Ali
supplements the above account of Hazrat Mirza’s stay in Sialkot and is
Hazrat Mirza sahib first stayed as a tenant in the house of Umra
Kashmiri in Mohallah Kashmirian, which was very close to my
place of residence. As soon as Mirza sahib returned home from
office, he got busy reciting the Quran. He recited the Quran sitting,
standing and walking, and cried profusely during the recitation.
There was such humility and sincerity in his recitation that it
is difficult to find another such example.
It is customary for people with pending work in government
offices to call on the employees of that office at home and to
request for favors. Such people started calling on Mirza sahib as
well. His landlord’s elder brother, Fazal-ud-Din, was a venerated
personality of the area and Hazrat Mirza sent for him and told
him, “Try to make the people understand not to come here. They
waste their time and mine. I really cannot help them. I do not
make the decisions. Any part of their work that I am required to
do is done before I return home.” Fazal-ud-Din then started to
intervene and would send such people on their way after explaining
the situation to them.
Maulvi Abdul Karim, who afterwards became one of the closest
companions of Mirza sahib, was born and raised in this same
Mirza sahib later moved to an apartment opposite the main
mosque. He shared this apartment with Munsab Ali Hakim, a
deed writer at the office. There was a store near their apartment
60 THE GREAT REFORMER
that stayed open at night because its elderly owner, Fazal Din,
lived in the store. Some people would gather there in the evenings
to socialize. Because Fazal Din was a virtuous man himself, those
who came to his store for this purpose were all respectable people.
Sometimes, Mirza sahib would join them. Another occasional
visitor to this group was Nasrullah, the Christian headmaster of
a Mission school. He and Mirza sahib would frequently get into
religious discussions and those present benefited greatly from
Mirza sahib’s arguments.
Mirza sahib was also a visitor at the house of Maulvi Mahbub
Alam, a pious and ascetic personality. On the advice of Mirza
sahib, Lala Bheem Sen, too, would occasionally call on Maulvi
Mahbub Alam. At times, the discussion focused on the role of
spiritual leaders and the necessity of pledging allegiance to them
by their disciples. Mirza sahib was of the view that self-striving
and personal exertion was sufficient to find the way to Allah. He
quoted from the Quran, “And those who strive hard for Us, We
shall certainly guide them in Our ways” (29:69). Maulvi Mahbub
Alam did not agree with this and maintained that a pledge to a
spiritual guide was necessary to find the right way.
In matters of religion, the excellence and leadership of Mirza
sahib was well recognized, but in one incident, those present saw
an example of his physical prowess as well. The day’s work was
over and the clerks in the office were preparing to go home when
the conversation turned to competitive running. Almost all the
clerks asserted they were swift runners but one Balla Singh
claimed he always outran his competition. Mirza sahib told him
to prove his contention by racing with him. Sheikh Allah Dad was
appointed as a referee and it was decided that the race would be
run barefoot from the office to a bridge at the boundary between
the city and the government offices. A person was sent to the
bridge ahead to record the finish. The two runners handed their
shoes to someone in the group and at a signal, Mirza sahib and
Balla Singh were off racing for the bridge. The rest of the crowd
followed at a normal pace and when they reached the bridge, they
found that Mirza sahib had won the race and Balla Singh had been
Writer – Mir Hassan.
Another testimony about the stay in Sialkot
During his stay in Sialkot, Hazrat Mirza was in the prime of his youth.
He was handsome and a picture of masculine beauty, but his life was
pious and pure. Even those who for some reason did not accept his claim
conceded that he led a virtuous life. One such person was Maulvi Sirajud-
Din Ahmad, the founder of the newspaper Zamindar. He was the
father of Munshi Zafar Ali Khan, the present proprietor of the paper.
Maulvi Siraj-ud-Din Ahmad once wrote in his newspaper about Hazrat
Mirza’s stay in Sialkot:
In 1860 or 1861,3 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a clerk in Sialkot.
At the time, his age was probably between 22 to 24 years and I
can testify as an eyewitness that even in youth he was pious and
righteous. After work, all his time was spent in the study of religion
and he did not socialize much with the common people.
Work – an act of worship
Though a government employee, Hazrat Mirza never did anything
against the pleasure of Allah and thus his work was also an act of devotion.
At home, he had no other interest except prayer, recitation of the
Quran and study of religion. However, the chain of debates, which were
to become an integral part of his life, had already started. One of the persons
he had impressed by his arguments was the learned, European clergyman,
Reverend Butler who started calling on him at his house. The
other missionaries, who considered this behavior degrading for the mission,
did not take to this kindly and they requested that these visits be
stopped. Reverend Butler, however, politely declined by saying, “He is a
very great person. You do not recognize him, but I do.” An example of his
affection was the farewell visit he made to see Hazrat Mirza in his office.
He sat on the ground with him and conversed for a long time. When the
Deputy Commissioner asked him the purpose of his visit, he told him
frankly that he had come to visit Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
Qualifying exam to practice as an attorney
During his stay in Sialkot, in 1868, Hazrat Mirza decided to take the
qualifying exam to practice as an attorney. His motivation seems to have
been his disillusionment with the moral and spiritual values of life associ-
62 THE GREAT REFORMER
3 Maulvi Siraj-ud-Din Ahmad’s memory has faulted about the date. Hazrat Mirza went
to Sialkot in 1864.
ated with civil service. His opinion about government service was not
very favorable as has been stated earlier. He probably thought that legal
practice would offer a degree of freedom in choosing a lifestyle not permitted
by government service. The profession also offered opportunities
to help victims of injustice.
The Chief Court had recently been established in Punjab and special
facilities existed to encourage suitable persons to join the legal profession.
Government employees could take the exam for becoming lawyers or
attorneys. Lala Bheem Sen, who has been mentioned several times in this
narration, was not at the time a lawyer. He was an employee of the Local
Board and held the position of Chief of Section. His maternal grandfather,
Deputy Mithan Lal, had used his contacts with the Deputy Commissioner
to obtain temporary permission for Lala Bheem Sen to practice law. The
permission had a stipulation that if the law exam was not passed, he would
have to revert to his original job. Lala Bheem Sen had taken leave from
his job to prepare for the exam. It was he who first suggested to Hazrat
Mirza to consider joining the legal profession.
On the urging of Lala Bheem Sen, or for other reasons, Hazrat Mirza
sat for the exam but failed. How could he pass? He did not bear to be away
from the Quran even for a moment, and while other candidates spent their
nights reading books of law, he spent his nights in the recitation of the
Quran. This was a compulsion born of love that he could not resist. He
recited the Quran throughout the night, even before the day of the exam.
The result was that he failed the law exam of this earthly government but
passed the law exam of the heavenly government for which God had
His real objective in wanting to join the legal profession was to help
the poor. On further reflection, he realized that, at times, the litigants put
forward false and fictitious claims and the whole proceedings then continued
on this falsehood with the lawyers as accessories. Sometimes false
witnesses were produced. In short, a lawyer’s job presented many hurdles
in pursuing a life of total honesty. The desire not to transgress the bounds
of righteousness by even a jot drove the idea of the legal profession from
Prediction of success for Lala Bheem Sen
Before the results of the exam were declared, Hazrat Mirza saw in a
vision that the question papers distributed in the exam were of two types
– yellow and red. All the candidates received yellow papers except Lala
Bheem Sen who was given a red one. Hazrat Mirza interpreted this vision
as meaning that Lala Bheem Sen will pass. The red color denoted success
and the yellow, failure4.
Some events that occurred in the examination hall almost resulted in
declaring the exam void. When the result was finally announced, it was
completely in accord with the vision – Lala Bheem Sen was the only candidate
to pass. Hazrat Mirza had narrated his vision and its interpretation
to Lala Bheem Sen and about thirty other people. It was for this reason
that Lala Bheem Sen was so devoted to Hazrat Mirza. He was an eyewitness
of his chaste and ascetic life from teen to youth and was greatly
enamored by it.
Prediction of Raja Teja Singh’s death
Hazrat Mirza frequently told Lala Bheem Sen about events that were
to occur in the future and the latter had witnessed the fulfillment of these
predictions. One such incident is recounted below. Hazrat Mirza writes:
I told this lawyer, i.e. Lala Bheem Sen, who practices in Sialkot,
that Raja Teja Singh, who had been granted several villages and
their administrative control in Tehsil Batala in lieu of his villages
and estate in Sialkot, had died. This prediction was based on
information I had received in a dream. Lala Bheem Sen expressed
surprise at my dream.
About 2:00 P.M. that day, the Commissioner, Mr. Princip, arrived
unexpectedly from Amritsar.5 He instructed the Deputy
Commissioner, Mr. McNeeb, to immediately prepare an inventory
of Raja Teja Singh’s orchards etc. in Sialkot as he had died the
previous day in Batala. On hearing this news, Lala Bheem Sen
was amazed at how this information was made known to me
ahead of time.
Prophet Abraham’s fire incident and God’s protection in Sialkot
Once a person inquired from Hazrat Mirza about the nature of the fire
to which Prophet Abraham was subjected by his opponents and which was
cooled by Allah’s command. He desired to know if the fire was an alle-
64 THE GREAT REFORMER
4 The clue in the interpretation is that the Urdu word for red is surkh, which is also the
first syllable of the word surkhru meaning successful.
5 In those days, the District of Sialkot was under the jurisdiction of Commissioner
gorical reference to mischief and intrigue or whether it was a real fire.
Hazrat Mirza replied:
The fire of mischief and intrigue inevitably confronts every
Prophet and creates a situation against which Allah aids His
Prophets with a miraculous power. It is not a difficult matter for
Allah to have suppressed an actual fire for Abraham. Such events
keep on occurring. It is not necessary now to conduct extensive
research about these incidents of Abraham (peace be upon him)
because thousands of years have elapsed since the events happened.
In the present time, I am witnessing such occurrences and
experiencing them in person. When I was in Sialkot, it so happened
one day that it was raining and lightning struck the room I
was sitting in. The room became charred and emitted a sulphurous
smell, but I was unharmed. The same bolt of lightning
also hit a temple, known as the temple of Teja Singh. The temple
was surrounded by a maze of walls to permit the customary circumambulation
of the temple. The lightning passed through this
maze and hit a person sitting inside the temple and burnt him to a
cinder. Reflect; this lightening was a fire that destroyed this person
but could do no harm to me because God protected me.
There is another similar incident that also occurred in Sialkot.
Once, I was sleeping in a room on the second story of a house
along with about fifteen or sixteen other men when I heard, in the
middle of the night, a creaking noise from the wooden beam of the
roof. I woke up the other men in the room and told them that the
beam appeared dangerous and we should vacate the room. They
replied that the sound was probably made by a mouse, advised me
not to worry, and went back to sleep. After a little while, I heard
the same creaking sound again and tried once more to warn the
sleeping men but with no success. When I heard the creaking
sound for the third time, I woke them up and sternly ordered them
out of the room. I was the last person to leave the room and no
sooner had I stepped on the second stair than the roof collapsed
and, taking the roof of the first floor with it, crashed to the ground.
We were all saved. There was a miraculous power from Allah that
prevented the beam from giving way until all of us had left.6
6 See following page.
In a like manner, once a dead scorpion was found near the quilt
on my bed, and another time, one was caught creeping inside the
quilt. Both times, God protected me from their harm. Once, the
skirt of my garment caught fire and I was not aware of it until
another person, who saw the fire, warned me and the fire was
extinguished. God, the Most High, does not just have one way to
save a person but many. Fire can cause heat and burning only if
several conditions are fulfilled. God, the Most High, has not made
known to man all of these conditions. The absence of any one can
negate the ability of the fire to burn. Then what is so amazing that
the fire was cooled for Abraham?
Islam’s honor uppermost in contest with Pundit Sej Ram
At his place of work, Hazrat Mirza was the embodiment of selfrespect
and dignity despite his inconsequential position. His competence
was unquestionable and even the Deputy Commissioner held him in high
esteem. The Superintendent of the District Office was Pundit Sej Ram, a
bigoted Hindu and an adversary of Islam. He frequently engaged Hazrat
Mirza in religious arguments under the false impression that his superior
position would cow down Hazrat Mirza and keep him from speaking the
truth. But Hazrat Mirza was born only to establish the superiority of
Islamic principles and was an unlikely candidate to bow under pressure.
A verse from his poem, describes him perfectly:
I am not afraid to take on the world in matters of religion,
Because my faith is colored in the faith of Muhammad.
When religious discussions took place, Hazrat Mirza, courageously and
without restraint, presented such powerful arguments to the Pundit that he
was left speechless and quite embarrassed. He vented his frustration by
targeting Hazrat Mirza in official dealings and had no compunction in
66 THE GREAT REFORMER
6 This incident shows the courage, sacrifice and humanitarianism that were part of
Hazrat Mirza’s character. He did not leave the room until all others had left. After two
unsuccessful attempts to awaken the sleeping men, any other person would have left to
save his own life, or at least run out of the room first when the panic evacuation began,
but not so Hazrat Mirza. This is in the best tradition of Islamic character. The Holy
Prophet did not leave Makkah until all his companions were safely in Madinah. Hazrat
Mirza’s act was in compliance with this tradition. Such perfect compliance is found
only in those who have disciplined their lives in the Prophet’s tradition and inculcated
his high moral virtues.
stooping to any level to harm him. But whom God protects, no man shall
harm. The Pundit took his complaints even to the Deputy Commissioner,
but there too he was rebuked and accomplished nothing except earning
further humiliation and embarrassment for himself.
Hazrat Mirza performed his official duties diligently, but considered
it below his self-respect and dignity to flatter and play the courtier. His
sincere friend, Lala Bheem Sen, counseled him to avoid religious confrontations
with the Pundit because promotion and success, apparently,
depended on him. However, persons like Hazrat Mirza, do not shy away
out of mundane considerations because of their strong faith in the
Omnipotent and the knowledge that no gain or loss takes place without
His will. Hazrat Mirza’s sense of honor for Islam is unparalleled in this
time. How could an enemy of Islam cow down such an honorable person?
This was not possible. The truth is, that those who fear the Creator cannot
be afraid of the creation.
Time passed, and Hazrat Mirza finally left the service honorably by
resigning on his own volition. Lala Sej Ram was transferred and posted
as head clerk in the Commissioner’s office in Amritsar. One day a strange
incident occurred which should serve as a warning to those who oppose
righteousness. It is best narrated in the words of Hazrat Mirza. He
I had an older brother who had taken the entrance exam to join
service as a Tehsildar (a land administration official) and had
passed the exam. He was still living at home in Qadian and was
waiting to join service. One day around late afternoon, I was reading
the Quran in my room upstairs. When I tried to turn the second
page of the Quran, my eyes went into a state of vision and I
saw Sej Ram dressed in black standing before me in the posture
of a humble person with his teeth bared. His manner seemed to be
saying, “Please have mercy shown to me.” I told him, “The time
for mercy has passed.” God put it into my heart that this person
had just died. There was no prior information about this.
Afterwards I came down from my room and there were six or
seven persons sitting with my brother talking about his employment.
I told them that if Pundit Sej Ram died, the resultant vacant
position would be desirable. They burst out laughing and joked,
7 Haqiqat-ul-Wahy. Page 296.
“Why are you killing a person who is hail and hearty?” On the
second or third day news reached us that Sej Ram had passed
away suddenly from this world at exactly the time of my vision.
Lala Bheem Sen invited to accept Islam
His own experience had sincerely convinced Hazrat Mirza that Islam
was the only true religion of these times. It was therefore imperative that if
he was fond of a non-Muslim, he would invite him to the great blessings of
Islam. Hazrat Mirza’s relationship with Lala Bheem Sen was one of affection
and friendship. He, in turn, was fully convinced of Hazrat Mirza’s piety
and righteousness. Religion was a subject that was discussed on a daily
basis, but one day Hazrat Mirza wrote him a long letter in Persian. He wrote
the letter in Persian because Lala Bheem Sen was fond of the language and
the intelligentsia of the time corresponded in this language; in much the
same fashion, as the intelligentsia of today would use English. In this letter,
he used arguments from Sura Fatihah to contradict idol worship and the theological
system of the Hindus. In this way, he manifested the weaknesses of
the Hindu faith and the strengths of Islam and invited Lala Bheem Sen to
One God, Quran and the tradition of the Prophet. Sheikh Yaqub Ali Turab
published the full text of the letter in his biography of Hazrat Mirza. The
letter was obtained from Lala Bheem Sen’s son, Lala Kunwar Sen M.A.,
former principal of Law College. Lala Kunwar Sen sent the letter to Sheikh
Yaqub Ali Turab with a note that read:
This article, according to my respected father, was written by
Mirza sahib for his friend, namely my father, during the time
when they both resided in Sialkot where, besides legal and literary
topics, they discussed moral and spiritual problems.
God alone knows why Lala Bheem Sen did not apparently accept Islam
despite his deep conviction about Hazrat Mirza’s piety. Hazrat Mirza,
however, fulfilled his duty as a friend by inviting him to Islam in an intellectually
Considered employment a prison
Hazrat Mirza’s mother once sent a barber by the name of Hayat to
deliver four suits to Hazrat Mirza. The reason was that Hazrat Mirza did
not pay attention to his food or clothes. He ate whatever was given and
wore whatever was made for him. For years, he did not even know the
amount of fabric needed for his shirt. He would only tell the number of
68 THE GREAT REFORMER
shirts he needed and would pay whatever the tailor, or whoever was getting
the shirts made, demanded as a price. Some people took advantage of
this and overcharged him on the pretense of using more material than was
His mother cared greatly for him and acted as a shield for him in all
matters in Qadian. She paid special attention to his food and dress for she
knew that her son did not pay attention to any matter except God. It was
because of her maternal affection that she had these four suits stitched and
sent Hayat to deliver them.
Hazrat Mirza’s nature was extremely generous. He kept three suits and
gave the fourth to Hayat. During the conversation, Hayat enquired whether
he liked being in service. Hazrat Mirza’s reply was, “It is a prison.”
Farewell to Sialkot
A combination of events brought about his departure from Sialkot. On
the one hand, Hazrat Mirza was not interested in employment and on the
other, his parents, and especially his mother, found the separation hard to
bear. His mother fell seriously ill, and hope was lost for her recovery. His
father directed him in a letter to resign from service and return to Qadian.
Another interpretation of these events is that the Divine plan required him
to learn some lessons from employment and these lessons had been learnt.
As directed by his father, he resigned and returned to Qadian but his mother
had already passed away before he got back.
Declines the position of Education Officer in Kapurthalla
On return from Sialkot, Hazrat Mirza was invited to join as an officer
in the education department of Kapurthalla state. His father had old connections
with this state, and its government expressed an interest in
recruiting someone from his family. Hazrat Mirza’s older brother had
taken employment with the British government by this time and hence the
invitation was extended to Hazrat Mirza. Hazrat Mirza sent a note to his
father that showed his complete disinclination from worldly pursuits. The
note stated, “I do not want to take up employment. Two dresses of coarse
cotton and any kind of food would be sufficient for me.”
Youth is a time of passions and desires but Hazrat Mirza’s desire was
simply for two suits of coarse cotton per year and any kind of food. This
was not the result of a lazy temperament for Hazrat Mirza was busy day
and night in worshipping Allah, studying the Quran and serving the cause
of religion. Everything he did was for God and religion. His entire interest
centered on this and he derived all his pleasure from it. This is known
as ‘separation from everything except Allah’ and Fanafil Allah (lost in the
contemplation of Allah). In the Quran, this has been explained as “Nay,
whoever submits himself entirely to Allah and does good (to others)”
(2:112), meaning that a perfect Muslim is one who turns his whole being
to Allah and his actions prove his faith and sincerity.
When Hazrat Mirza’s father read the note, he was ecstatic and commented
to Ghulam Nabi, “I am happy at this. The real path to tread is the
one he is walking on.”
Declines the position of assessor in Sessions Court
Before closing this chapter on employment, I would like to mention
that, at a later period, Hazrat Mirza was also offered the position of assessor
in the Sessions court but he declined. Time and again, the world tried
to entice him with its enchantments but each time he rebuffed it with the
same resolution, and thus passed these God sent trials and temptations
successfully. He had no interest or attraction for these worldly prizes. In
one of his verses, he lays bare his inner self beautifully. He states:
I have no desire for the honors of this world,
Do not reserve a chair for me because I am appointed to serve.
Hazrat Mirza acts as a commission
When Hazrat Mirza was engaged in pursuing his father’s litigations,
he was once appointed as a commission in a case and perforce had to perform
this duty. When he went to conduct the investigation, he asked
another person, Miran Baksh, to accompany him. Hazrat Mirza took with
him a horse to ride and food for himself and his companion and also feed
for the horse. They set out on foot with Miran Baksh holding the reins of
the horse. On the way, Hazrat Mirza asked Miran Baksh to ride the horse
and walked the rest of the way himself.
When they reached the site of investigation, the parties in the case
tried hard to extend him their hospitality, not only because he was the
commission in their case but also because he was the son of a well known
personality of Qadian. Hazrat Mirza declined their attempts by pointing
out that he had with him food for his party and feed for the horse. As such,
he needed nothing from them except their statements in the case that he
had been charged to investigate. Thus, Hazrat Mirza was not only pious
and devout but also trustworthy, just and upright in his actions to a degree
unmatched in recent times.
Journey to Jammu