Intro
We are just reproducing the data on Mahmud Ahmad’s Hajj in 1912.

The data
http://www.reviewofreligions.org/12204/mahmuds-letter-from-the-land-of-the-dearest-one-muhammadsa-2/

In 1912, at the young age of around 23 and prior to his Caliphate, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra performed the Hajj. During this historic and blessed journey, he continued to remain in contact, seeking prayers and guidance from his beloved leader, Hazrat Maulvi Hakeem Nuruddinra, the first Caliph and worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Some of these letters were later published in the newspaper, Al-HakmThe Review of Religions has translated these historic letters from Swaneh Fazle Umar into English for the first time. These letters give a wondrous insight into the life and character of Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra and a very detailed and inspirational personal account of the great pilgrimage, the Hajj.

Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-din Mahmood Ahmadra with his companions during their visit of different religious institutions of India Lukhnao, April 1912. He is seen here seated in the middle - at the young age of 23, approximately the same age he performed the Hajj. This picture does not in any way directly represent his visit to Hajj, but gives readers a general impression of the time period when Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra embarked on the historic pilgrimage. © Makhzan-e-Tasaweer

Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-din Mahmood Ahmadra with his companions during their visit of different religious institutions of India Lukhnao, April 1912. He is seen here seated in the middle – at the young age of 23, approximately the same age he performed the Hajj. This picture does not in any way directly represent his visit to Hajj, but gives readers a general impression of the time period when Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra embarked on the historic pilgrimage.
© Makhzan-e-Tasaweer

Translated by Atta-ur-Rahman Khalid, Rabeeb Mirza and Shahzad Ahmad

Mahmud’s Letter from the Land of the Dearest One [Muhammadsa]

The Editor of AlHakm, wrote in the edition of 7th December 1912:

“In the foreign post that came this week, there were some letters of our determined servant Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra which are addressed to our Imam [Leader], the Leader of the Faithful [referring to the first Caliph]. By reading these letters, every Ahmadi’s heart shall be roused with the zeal to pray. My own state of affairs was such that when the Leader of the Faithful read the content of these letters aloud to me today, on the 2nd December, a state of ecstasy overcame me due to his immense affection. By looking at Huzur’s [‘Huzur’ is a term of affection used in the Ahmadiyya Community to describe the Caliph and means ‘His Holiness’. ‘Huzur’ used in this article refers to the first Caliph, who the letters were addressed to] face and listening to his voice, it seemed to me that the age of youthfulness had once again overcome him. Happiness (such happiness that is intertwined with the glorification of Allah) was gleaming from his face and there was passion in his voice – such passion that was immersed with glorification and gratification to Allah. When Huzur read out a sentence of Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib’s [respectfully referring to Mahmud], which referred to the strong inclination felt towards prayers, I stated that once Huzur himself had also mentioned that among the many blessings of Makkah Muazama and Madinah Munawara [Makkah and Madinah are the two holiest sites in Islam—Makkah is where the House of God is found and was where the Holy Prophetas was born and Madinah was where he passed away], are that they provide many opportunities for prayers. Anyhow, the Leader of the Faithful [referring to the first Caliph] was very joyous after reading these letters. It is by the Grace of God Almighty that I have those letters which had been written by Mahmud from the land of our Beloved One [the Holy Prophetsa], and have the great honour of publishing them for the benefit of all Ahmadis. After reading these letters one is able to learn of the virtuous life and the pure intentions of Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib, as by studying a person’s intentions and prayers one can learn a great deal about his life. I wish the European biographers could understand this fine principle and view the life of the Holy Prophetsawith this insight. I have an ardent desire, God willing, to portray the life of the Holy Prophetsa in this manner. Nonetheless, you shall recognise the life of Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib through his prayers. I do not wish to make any more remarks in regards to these letters. Although my utmost affection drives me to write more, the speedy publication (of this letter) is compelling my pen to stop. That is why I shall now present these letters and request members to fervently pray for this determined servant, who is praying for them at the Holy Sites. It would be of interest for readers to know that on the one hand Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra [means Caliph of the Promised Messiahas – and refers here to the first Caliph] wrote a letter to Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib asking him to return from Hajj to Qadian and yet on the other hand, God Almighty made such arrangements whereby he shall be able to return in January or February. May Allah the Almighty be his helper.” – (Editor)

Letter No. 1: Written Whilst Travelling From Suez to Makkah

“Beloved Master!

May Peace be upon you.

Yesterday I reached Suez by the Grace of God Almighty, and the dream that I had previously written about has been fulfilled because I could not get a place on the ship that was to set sail on Monday [for Jeddah]. I was told that tickets were no longer available; and places would be made available on the next ship – just as I was told in my dream. There is another ship that is setting off on Tuesday, 29th October which I am trying to obtain a ticket for. However, it seems impossible because there are thousands of pilgrims who were here before me. Currently, there are two ships that sail daily from Egypt to the Hajj, and the last of those ships was the one that I initially intended to sail on. If I had travelled upon that then it was well-nigh possible that I would have been left behind [from reaching Jeddah]. Even though I have come a week in advance, it is still problematic to obtain a place. 71 thousand tickets have been printed from Egypt for the pilgrims.

Antique illustration of a ship convoy sailing through Suez canal. © Shutterstock | Marzolino

Antique illustration of a ship convoy sailing through Suez canal.
© Shutterstock | Marzolino

Yesterday, whilst coming to the Suez from Saeed, there were five other men travelling with me in second class. One was European and four were Muslims. Two among them were Bedouin chiefs, probably from southern Egypt, one was an officer in the postal department and the other was a Railway Inspector. I conversed with them and drew their attention to the current state of Islam. I told them how Muslims are deteriorating both religiously and materialistically, whilst Christians are gaining strength. I then presented the subject of the death of Jesusas and the Promised Messiah’sas [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian] claim. I further emphasised the importance of unity and widening the scope of mutual relationships. This discussion continued for about three hours. The gentleman from amongst them, who was an officer in the postal department, knew English, French and Italian as well as Arabic. By the Grace of God Almighty such an impression was left upon them that they all took my contact details and the person fluent in many languages promised that he would publish these concepts in the local daily newspaper Al-Ilm. He further said that he would remain in contact with me regarding our discussion. He then carried all my luggage to the hotel and did not leave until he was fully satisfied that we would no longer experience any kind of difficulty. If not for this, it would have been very difficult for us in Suez.

It is by the Grace of God Almighty that this person decided, with this friend who was a railway inspector, to establish a similar committee for the purpose of propagating Islam and uniting Muslims in the future. At the same time my health is weakening – today, I had such a terrible headache that I had to sleep during the day, which had a further adverse effect on my health. Last night I saw in a dream that Nasir’s [Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmadrh, Mahmud’s son] mother is somewhat ill, as if suffering from symptoms of TB. Due to the fact that his mother has been through this illness once before, I am worried about what the interpretation of such a dream means, but Huzur should please pray. Women become affected by separation from their husbands and due to this there is a risk of illnesses. There is a need for prayer. It is due to the prayers of Huzur that until now, God Almighty has made me interact with moral people only. Arab Sahib [an Arab Ahmadi who accompanied Mahmud to the Hajj] is also engaged in propagating the message of Islam.

Wasalam

Yours Humbly,

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad from Suez”

Map of Sinai Peninsula. © Shutterstock | G.D Mohamed

Map of Sinai Peninsula.
© Shutterstock | G.D Mohamed

Letter No. 2: Written After Arriving in Jeddah on 2nd November 1912

A camel caravan traveling to Makkah for the annual pilgrimage, circa 1910. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

A camel caravan traveling to Makkah for the annual pilgrimage, circa 1910.
G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

“Beloved Master and Teacher!

May Peace be upon you.

By the Grace of God Almighty, yesterday on 1st October, (It is more likely to be November, as the stamp of Jeddah is dated as 2nd November-Editor) I reached Jeddah safely. Yesterday when I departed the ship, I had a temperature and a terrible headache, but as they do not check the passengers of the Egyptian ships, by the sheer Grace of God Almighty I did not experience problems of any sort and I passed through without trouble. I thought that Mir Sahib [Mir Sahib also accompanied Mahmud to the Hajj] would have reached here by now, but I discovered that he had not reached because his ship was delayed by two days. So InshAllah (God willing) he will arrive here today or tomorrow. I shall InshAllah wait for him in Jeddah and when he arrives, we shall set off for Makkah. Arab Sahib is in good health; however, my health is quite poor. I have a mild cough and I feel as though I have a temperature. I have not checked my temperature; therefore I am not certain of whether I have a high temperature or whether it is due to a stomach abnormality. Daily, I suffer from a headache. Sometimes I experience stomach pains, perhaps owing to the change in diet.

On the first day in Egypt I met some intellectuals and thought that all Egyptians speak in the manner they did. However, after three days I learnt that it is a much distorted language. To understand the language of the general public is very difficult. I am obviously not familiar with the spoken language but in many instances even Arab Sahib said that he was not able to understand them and that they have completely changed the words. In such a country it would be almost impossible for someone to learn the language, even in five years. On the ship, I met some people from Cairo. Their language was the same, even though there were some very prominent individuals amongst them. However, I cannot draw an entirely accurate conclusion due to the fact that I could not stay there long enough. In Jeddah however, all the people I have met thus far, speak in a very articulate manner. However, I do not know whether this view of mine shall persist or not. The language of the Arabs I saw in Qadian varied from them. Yesterday a ten or eleven year old boy said:

Marakib Al-Hijaj Takunu Mashuna’ [the ship is filled with pilgrims].

Upon hearing the word Mashun [filled], I became very pleased that it is a Qur’anic word. In Egypt I would hear many utter:

Arba’ah Yaum, Sittah Yaum, Khamsah Yaum’ [four day, five day, six day].

Another boy from here said, ‘Arba’at Ayam’ [four days] but there [in Egypt] I did not hear any educated person utter the words ‘Ayam’ [days]. Everyone would say ‘YaumYaum’ [day]. Miyan Abu Bakr Sahib tells us that the language of Makkah is far more refined than here. I have heard from some Egyptians and others that in Egypt there are some great scholars of lexicons and hadith. If this is true, then one can stay in Egypt for two years and acquire such knowledge from them. However, a person like myself who has the intention of staying for six months at the most, cannot benefit from them whatsoever. If I had not made the intention for Hajj, then this journey of mine would have become very difficult. I am shocked when I come across such ignorance in the world. From a religious aspect, India excels other countries and Qadian is indeed a mercy, which has no similitude. People do not understand the importance of religion. I had the opportunity to speak to many people during my four-day stay in Egypt and also during my journey on the ship. A lot of them questioned me that there is an urge to propagate the message of Islam amongst those who are erring. However, those who are guided to truth, what is the purpose of preaching to them? If some are led astray then let them be; we by the Grace of God Almighty are Muslims. When I explained to them, they were astonished and admitted that up until now they had not understood the true importance of preaching and education, and neither did they pay heed to it. Even though I stayed there for four days only, I spent most of three days on board in the company of the Egyptians. Many of the noble people of Egypt were travelling for Hajj and I had the opportunity to meet all of them. Owing to the fact that they have no prejudice like we do [in the Sub-continent], they were willing to accept after some initial opposition and did not persist. Also, after a brief conversation they began to grow in affection and invited us to speak to them. Even though they took great pride in the fact that they were Arabs, yet all the third class passengers had made Arab Sahib their Sheikh [leader/teacher]. They would come to him to seek edicts and ask about the rituals of Hajj. Meanwhile, the passengers of the first and second classes pursued me, especially the Egyptians. They would start a conversation with me wherever they saw me and would make me sit next to them. Since I am not in the habit of drinking herbal tea or coffee, they would feel hurt and surprised that I would not join them. To drink a cup of herbal tea is nonetheless easy but to drink coffee is a very difficult task. Coffee is very bitter. They were surprised by this and would show compassion towards me for being deprived of this blessing. One person enquired from me that ‘Do Indians drink coffee? This is a great blessing.’

Ka’bah, 1880. © WIki Commons

Ka’bah, 1880. © Wiki Commons

The value of Hajj and its grandeur cannot be comprehended without performing it. Indeed, the prayers and attention drawn towards God which I have witnessed during this journey have never been witnessed before. By seeing people of various languages on-board a ship together and to hear them recite ‘Labaik Labaik’ [“Here I am!” – this is part of a longer prayer pilgrims recite on route to the Hajj], such emotions and affection were sparked that one is astounded by the excellences of the Holy Prophetsa and how that light which once emanated from Makkah has now reached the corners of the world. After all, what was that Quwat-e-Qudsi [divine force] which did not take thousands, but millions out of misguidance and showed them the path of guidance? While boarding [ship] from Rabigh and hearing the slogan of ‘Labaik Labaik’ [Here I am], and when witnessing the Turks reciting ‘Labaich Labaich’ [Here I am – but in their distinct accent] my eyes filled with tears. As although these people could not recite the words properly, yet the prayers and weeping of the Holy Prophetsa had brought them to the path of Islam. It was near Rabigh that God Almighty filled my heart with prayers and I was enabled to pray extensively. May I be sacrificed upon the blessings of God Almighty’s sovereignty!

Camels and Tents of pilgrims, Makkah 1910. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Camels and Tents of pilgrims, Makkah 1910. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

As two Turks who knew neither Urdu nor Arabic, one stood to my right and the other to my left and both very emotionally recited ‘Ameen! Ameen!’ [please accept our prayer] aloud. It suddenly was made apparent to me that it was a moment for the acceptance [of prayer] because God Almighty had sent these two men to recite ‘Ameen! Ameen!’ for me, even though they were not aware of what I was saying. At that moment I prayed extensively for Huzur [His Holiness – the first Caliph], for Huzur’s family, for my mother, my entire family, the people of Qadian [in India – birthplace of the Promised Messiahas], for Ahmadis and for the state of Islam. Whilst the two Turks continued reciting ‘Ameen!’ – All praise belongs to Allah for this, I was astonished.

Even though being ignorant, I found a place at the threshold.

By what did God Almighty enable me to visit this Holy land? His Grace! Grace! Grace! I am in need of lots of prayers. Though in this country my heart is joyful, yet my body is sick. I intend, God willing, to return to India, Qadian in January or February, from Madina to Syria, en route Egypt. May Allah enable this.

Wasalam

Yours Humbly,

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad”

Letter No. 3: Written by Mahmud from Baitul Haram

“My master, my Imam and my teacher – Peace be upon you.

Tent City of Makkah, 1910. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Tent City of Makkah, 1910. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

By the Grace and Bounty of Allah the Exalted, we safely reached Makkah Mukarramahyesterday, the 9th November, along with Mir Sahib. Thousands upon thousands of thanks be to God the Exalted, Who out of His bounty granted the opportunity to visit His pure and holy place. Yesterday, when the camels were coming towards Makkah, my heart was in a strange state, beyond description. My heart swelled up with love and as we approached closer and closer, my enthusiasm grew. I am amazed as to how Allah the Exalted, under His wisdom and planning, brought me from one place to another. First, the thought of Egypt had arisen. Then it occurred that we should visit Makkah as it is on the way. Then I thought that as it is the days of Hajj, they should also be availed. Hence, the intention of going to Egypt developed into that of visiting Makkah and Hajj and in the end Allah the Exalted brought me here. I had a long-standing desire to observe Hajj and had been praying for this. However, no apparent means were visible as the difficulties of the journey caused anxiety. Moreover, there was the thought that opponents may also create mischief. However, the intention of going to Egypt made me think that to go to Egypt and overlook Makkah on the way would be disrespectful. There is no doubt that the journey from Jeddah to Makkah is extremely gruelling and Mir Sahib almost became ill. I also suffered a great deal and all the joints in my entire body were aching. However, great bounties demand great sacrifices. In exchange for this great bounty what relevance does this suffering have! The road to Madinah is even longer and gruelling. However, what is a few days of suffering in exchange for seeing the holy places where the Holy Prophetsa, may my parents be sacrificed for his sake, spent a glorious era of his prophetic mission? My heart is overwhelmed with sentiments of thankfulness at this favour of Allah the Exalted and with what wisdom he has brought me here. This is Allah’s Grace; He bestows it on whom He pleases.

Ka’bah 1880. © WIki Commons

Ka’bah 1880. © Wiki Commons

The wisdom of Allah the Exalted is manifest from the fact that we missed the ship which goes to Egypt. However after having insisted, when we boarded the next ship, I had a dream upon reaching Egypt that the Promised Messiahas or perhaps the Holy Prophetsasaid, ‘Immediately go to Makkah; you may or may not get another opportunity.’ Hence, two ships left and we were unable to board them; and this verified the dream. In this manner, we were unable to tour Egypt. Moreover, when we reached Makkah we learned that we could no longer travel to Egypt because it is a rule of the Government of Egypt that no one can travel to Egypt from Hijaz or Syria after Hajj for four months, with the exception of those people who are residents of Egypt. Hence, if I want to travel to Egypt I would not be permitted to go there until April; I could go there towards the end of April. Initially, I considered this news to be a fabrication. However, later I learned from Hajji Ali Jan Walai, who is a merchant from Delhi where he has merchants, that this is in fact the ruling. Since his business is on-going in these countries he has definitive knowledge. Another person narrated that last year he waited in Syria for three months and only after the elapse of this period was he able to gain permission to enter Egypt. In these circumstances it seems pointless to return to Egypt. It is pointless to wait for four months to gain entry into Egypt after Hajj.
I have deduced by collectively looking at these events that it was the divine will to have me perform Hajj, and the intention of Egypt was a means for it. I am humbled to the point of death at this favour of Allah the Exalted. What worth did a sinful person like me have, that He looked upon me with such a degree of love and compassion, and in this manner engineers for me to visit such holy places. However, the love of Allah the Exalted for His servants cannot be comprehended. He is the Benefactor, but there is a lack of gratitude on our part. I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed. Yesterday, I performed Umrahand Allah the Exalted enabled me to pray beyond my expectations. I prayed as much as possible for Huzur, Huzur’s family, the entire Ahmadiyya Community, Islam and Muslims, while visiting the Baitullah [House of Allah] and during the Sa’ee [running] between Safa and Marwah [Two hills situated next to the House of Allah]. I especially prayed for the progress of the Community and for mutual unity and love. And Allah is the Acceptor of Prayers.

Peace.

Humbly,

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad”

Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib’s Letter to the Caliph from Port Sa’eed

Port Sa’eed. © WIki Commons

Port Sa’eed. ©Wiki Commons

“Although my physical health has been poor during this journey, I have derived great benefit in a spiritual sense. I have had the opportunity to pray to such a degree that I seldom had previously. Alongside myself I prayed as much as I could for others, for Huzur’s family, my entire family, the people of Qadian and then for the entire Ahmadiyya Community. I also prayed a great deal for Islam. On the 19th in particular, the state on the ship was such that I felt as though the entire earth and sky has been filled with light. There was such fervour for prayer in my heart that I had never felt before. Then I felt the certainty and satisfaction within me that all my prayers were being accepted, and my disposition was not made anxious by prayer. Moreover, most of the time during our journey I would have the opportunity to pray. The journey by sea was very pleasant. On one day the sea was fairly turbulent; however, I did not suffer. There were many students from England on board with me; Muslims as well as Hindus. I also found an opportunity to thoroughly preach to them. They were all atheists and would ridicule God. The Hindus did not desist from cow meat whatsoever, because now they were at complete liberty from religion. I persisted with them as much as possible during the journey and they also became accustomed to me. When they were finished with their matters, they would sit by me and talked about religion. There were three barristers; they were the most outspoken. However, by the Grace of Allah the Exalted, my efforts were not in vain. Although they did not openly admit it, however one confessed, ‘Although I was previously completely fearless, now my heart trembles if I mock God or listen to another. Moreover, a desire has developed in me to look into this matter.’ Hence, he also said, ‘Even though I cannot respond to your arguments and because my old doctrines are deeply rooted, I am not completely satisfied. I have one bar examination remaining. After sitting it, when I return to India after five months, I will come to Qadian and meet you and verify this matter.’ The other Hindu, who had already passed all his bar examinations and had only one more term left, said, ‘Until today I have never seen religion being presented in such a manner. Similarly, until today we were made to follow religion without any reasoning. This is a new method that I am observing when you present arguments.’ However, he was so discourteous that he would repeatedly say that if Allah the Exalted had any power then He should ruin him, God forbid. Another student noted down my contact details with the intention that he would write to me from England regarding. I have taken a promise from everyone to meet Khawaja Sahib in England. Some even requested some books in order to study them. All praise belongs to Allah. Apart from this benefit, the most remarkable benefit I derived from this experience was that by observing the condition of these people, a picture was drawn of the current state of Islam. I have never seen such staunch atheists like these before, who were very bold and outspoken.

I notice that the concern that I had for Islam before, has undoubtedly greatly increased now. There is great need for prayers; I am in dire need. Even at present I have a headache and when my condition declines significantly, my heart feels anxious.

Humbly,

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad from Port Sa’eed”

Old Makkah, 1880. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Old Makkah, 1880. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

A Letter From Jeddah

“On the day of Hajj my health had improved so much so that, by the Grace of Allah, the Hajj came to an excellent conclusion and gave me a sense of wellbeing. In many such places where it is said prayers are particularly accepted, I saw such blessings of Allah the Exalted that left me in awe. At Arafat [Arafat, approximately twenty kilometre from Makkah and is where the Holy Prophetsa delivered the Farewell Sermon to Muslims who accompanied the Prophet for Hajj] I had the opportunity to pray for over four hours and saw signs of the mercy of God, which made it appear as if all prayers were being accepted. Moreover, prayers were being taught to me by God Himself, which had never come to my mind before. All praise belongs to Allah! The inclination towards prayers, being taught prayers and the signs of the mercy of God, which I experienced especially in Makkah and during the days of Hajj, was a completely new experience for me. A passion arose in my heart that if a person is able to, he should perform Hajj repeatedly, as it is a source of many blessings.”

Apart from these letters some memories of this journey are found preserved in some of his later speeches and writings. Some of these are also given as an example:

“When I went for Hajj in 1912, a similar incident occurred there as well. Another five men were accompanying me on this journey. Three of them were elderly and were all barristers. One of them was a Hindu, who has now gone to India and two were Muslim. One of them has passed away and the other one is a barrister in Multan. The three of them used to talk to me regarding religion and politics on a daily basis and used to say that we should join the Congress, as the betterment of the Muslims lies in doing so. Thus, we used to have many discussions. When our ship reached Yemen, we went out to tour the country. The three barristers, the two boys, one of whom is currently the Director of Education but was a child at that time, were all present as well as myself. Nevertheless, we all set forth. When we were about to enter a city, a very simple clothed man approached us. We were speaking in Punjabi at the time and he recognised that we were Punjabi. Thus, as soon as he approached us he said, ‘The fortunate people of the country of our Lala Lajpat Rai Jee have arrived.’ He had only mentioned so much when they started hurling extremely foul language at him. I felt it to be grossly uncivilised, as the poor man had only mentioned that we were coming from there and they started cursing him.

At the time I remained quiet, however when we returned I said to them that they had not exhibited good morals. He was a traveller and seeing some Punjabis, he too desired to say something in Punjabi and so he said to them that the people of the country of Lala Lajpat Rai Jee had arrived. Thus, what harm was there in him saying this? They replied that I was not aware that he was a policeman and his intention was for them to praise Lala Lajpat Rai so that he could report them. I don’t know whether this was the truth or perhaps they had just imagined this in their minds and thus responded accordingly. Nonetheless, such things occur in the world.”

He further stated:

“When a person looks towards the Baitullah [House of Allah – namely the Ka’bah] and his eyes fall upon it, there is a special feeling in the heart and there is a strange moment for the acceptance of prayer. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira [the first Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community] would often state that when he performed Hajj, he read a Hadith that at the very first instance upon seeing the Ka’bah, whatever prayer is made at that point is accepted. He further said that at the time there were many prayers that his heart desired for but suddenly a thought arose that if he made those prayers and they were to be accepted and later he was met with another need then what would he do? He would neither be able to perform the Hajj nor be able to see the Ka’bah. He stated that he pondered and eventually decided to supplicate the prayer: ‘O Allah! Whatever I pray for, accept it.’ So that this state of affairs continued in the future also. I had heard this from the first Caliph, and so while doing the Hajj, I remembered it. Therefore, as soon as we saw the Ka’bah, my [maternal] grandfather raised his hands and said to pray. While he was making various other prayers, I only prayed: ‘O Allah! It is not every day that I will get the opportunity to see this Ka’bah. Today, I am fortunate enough to have witnessed it in my lifetime. You have promised Your Messengersa that you will accept the prayer of whosever witnesses [the Ka’bah] for the first time on the occasion of Hajj, therefore I pray that may my prayers continue to be accepted for the rest of my life.’”

On another occasion, speaking of the pilgrimage to the House of God, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra states:

“I have had special experiences of prayer in certain places. Firstly, the prayer made whilst looking at the Ka’bah. During that moment, I witnessed a strange sight in which light was descending from the skies. This was not a feeling that simply emanated from the heart, in fact, it was something real and I witnessed it. Secondly, when in Arafat – which is a central part of Hajj, in this place blessings also descended. The third place was the Cave of Hira [Hira is a cave on a mountain called Jabal al-Nur, some three kilometres from Makkah. Hira is the cave where the Holy Prophetsa received his first revelation from God]; a special feeling is produced in the heart whilst praying there. One of the reasons for this feeling is because people do not give it the respect it truly deserves.

Makkah, ca. 1910. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Makkah, ca. 1910.
G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Makkah, ca. 1910. Bird’s-eye view of Ka’bah crowded with pilgrims. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Makkah, ca. 1910. Bird’s-eye view of Ka’bah crowded with pilgrims. G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Photograph of the Ka’bah published in 1905 The New International Encyclopædia, v. 11, 1905, facing p. 358. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

Photograph of the Ka’bah published in 1905
The New International Encyclopædia, v. 11, 1905, facing p. 358. Accessed via Wiki Commons.

The photograph shows pilgrims in the valley of Arafat, from a series of hajj photographs by Snouck Hurgronje and the physician Abd al-Ghaffar collected in an album, Bilder aus Mekka in the Leiden University Library, published in 1889. Broadhurst, R.J.C., tr. The Travels of Ibn Jubayr. London: Jonathan Cape, 1952, pages 191-193. Image credit: Photograph by Abd al-Ghaffar in C. Snouck Hurgronje. Bilder aus Mekka, Plate XIII. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1889.

The photograph shows pilgrims in the valley of Arafat, from a series of hajj photographs by Snouck Hurgronje and the physician Abd al-Ghaffar collected in an album, Bilder aus Mekka in the Leiden University Library, published in 1889.
Broadhurst, R.J.C., tr. The Travels of Ibn Jubayr. London: Jonathan Cape, 1952, pages 191-193. Image credit: Photograph by Abd al-Ghaffar in C. Snouck Hurgronje. Bilder aus Mekka, Plate XIII. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1889.

I noticed in the open of Arafat people were busy in buying and selling as if it were a festival; eating, drinking and strolling and no one could be seen to be occupied in prayer. Although, after the speaker had delivered his sermon and the cloth moved, people became slightly attentive. Otherwise, the rest of the time people were eating and drinking.

There [in Arafat] I witnessed particular blessings. We were given three hours and for three hours I prayed. When there was hardly any time left, I was told that we should leave. However, it seemed as if I had only spent 10-15 minutes praying.

I also started to preach there and God Almighty protected me through His special Grace. The Turkish government at the time had no influence whatsoever. Now, the King of Hijaz is under the influence of the British Government, therefore the Indians cannot be ill-treated. However, this was not the situation then, at the time they could arrest anyone they pleased. However, I openly preached there. When we left that house, the next day it was raided and the owner of the house was questioned whether someone of a certain description had been seen there.

There was also a Maulvi [cleric] by the name of Maulvi Abdul Sattar Tajir Kutub, who was a scholar and also a very noble and wise man. He disagreed with the mainstream Muslims in his beliefs, but he would not reveal himself openly. When I preached to him, he told me that whatever I said was logical, however he said he would like to advise me not to go to a particular person, for he would cause me harm if he heard me stating these things. I told him that I had already spent two hours preaching to him and apart from hurling verbal abuse he said nothing else.

I also gained a lot of popularity there; we were once walking along a street when a young individual greeted me in a very sober tone: ‘O Son of the Messenger of God’ or ‘O son of the Prophet of God’ and then went away. I am not aware of whether he was mocking me or really meant it but there did not seem to be any indication of mockery. It is possible that perhaps his heart was inspired and out of fear did not reveal himself.”

Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Commnity, writes in Swaneh Fazle Umar: “Upon returning from Hajj, Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib (respectfully referring to Mahmud)was given a splendid reception by all the [Ahmadiyya] Community from Bombay to Qadian. People flocked to the various stations to meet him and welcome him. This was not simply a worldly tradition; even then, the service towards faith was given precedence. At each station he would address the members of the Community and relate the various accounts of his expedition of Hajj and would also counsel them about faith. Despite the constraints of time, he would deliver brief but inspirational speeches.

Among those who had convened to greet Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib (respectfully referring to Mahmud) at Amritsar station was respected Prof. Qazi Muhammad Aslam Sahib, MA (former Principal of Government College Lahore and Professor for the Department of Psychology at the Punjab University). It was the first time he met Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib and this occasion proved to be one of the most cherishable memories of Qazi Sahib, because Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib personality had such a profound impact upon his heart. Owing to Qazi Sahib, we too have been able to gain an insight into the personality of Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib in his younger days, as Qazi Sahib related this incident:

‘In 1912, when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra [referring to Mahmud – who later became the 2nd Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community] completed the Hajj and was returning back, the members of the Community from Amritsar welcomed him at Amritsar station. It was the first time I saw Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib and I think he was sat in the second class carriage. It was my first ever instance of seeing him and till this day that memory remains with me. I wish I was able to describe that strange feeling. I observed an extremely handsome man who was very wise; a leader, revered and who was to become a great person. It is rather strange, but I could not discern whether he was old or young. When Huzur [referring to Mahmud – who later became His Holiness the 2nd Caliph] travelled to England in 1944, one of the newspapers wrote that the Imam of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at was a young man – only after reading that did I realise that our Huzur is a young man. God Almighty had granted him such great awe so early on in his life, due to which Huzur’s young age remained concealed. There was a smile on his face, but at the same time a sense of seriousness prevailed. He was wearing a traditional white cloth tied around his head and wore shining traditional Subcontinent shoes, similar to pump style shoes. His face, his clothes, in short his whole image, was captivating. One would become refreshed after seeing him because he was the son of our Imam, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community. He too was handsome and enchanting like his father. This feeling remained in me right until the end. Huzur got off the train and shook hands with members and continued to speak with them informally.’

What Qazi Sahib felt on account of his foresight and intelligence at the time of meeting Huzur, was in fact an integral part of Huzur’s character. By looking at Huzur’s face or after meeting him, one would never take notice of his age. People who met him would be immersed in his everlasting personality, which was free from the shackles of time. It would seem as if the passage of time had no bearing on him whatsoever. Those who witnessed him during his younger years never took notice of his age due to his mature mind and great wisdom. Likewise, those who met him in his later years never thought about his age, owing to the passion in his heart and enduring stamina for work.

Right from my childhood until many years after the Partition of India, I too never took notice of his age. Although in the final years of his life, due to the sorrow of migration [from Qadian] and also the illness which developed after being attacked, many of his relatives and community members observed with great anguish that he was entering the latter stages of life. It was in the years soon after 1950, that our uncle, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra – who we used to call Amoo Sahib, drew my attention to the fact that it was the first time he had witnessed the signs of old age in Huzur. Therefore, Qazi Sahib’s account is very interesting, whereby this aspect of Huzur’s character was evident even during his years of youth.

When Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib arrived at Batala, which is situated twelve miles west of Qadian, he saw his blessed mother, Hazrat Ummul Momineenra [mother of the believers, the blessed wife of the Promised Messiahas] waiting with great affection. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira [First Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community] gave special instructions for his welcome; both educational institutions were closed [in commemoration]. Aside from the students, thousands of members of the Community travelled from Qadian to the river which was two miles away, in order to welcome him. Despite Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I’sraweakness and frailty, he walked a great distance to welcome Hazrat Sahibzada Sahib. The students organised a grand tea party in honour of him, in which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Iraalso attended and delivered a speech. The students asked Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira as to how they should express their immense joy, His Holiness told them a pure method of expressing their happiness in the following way:

Pray that may Mia Sahib’s [i.e. referring to Mahmud with reverence] life be one of blessings, a benefit to mankind and for the service of Islam. You should collectively pray for this and offer two Rakats [units] of Salat [prayer] after having praised God Almighty and seeking His forgiveness.

Thus, the person who set out from Qadian with only prayers as his provision for travel, was met on his return with greetings of prayers also, and good wishes.”