Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg is an important person in the history of Ahmadiyya, he seems to have converted to Ahmadiyya very early on, 1891-era, and was very close to MGA. Interestingly, Dr. Abdul Hakim Khan, the famous apostate from Ahmadiyya is mentioned as being in Lahore in 1891. In fact, he was also at the same college as the Baig brothers, he eventually introduced them to Ahmadiyya.
The Hope Bulletin, May-2008 edition
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Life Sketch of Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg (1872-1936)
[Researched and written by Choudry Masud Akthar, Secretary, AAIIL, Hayward, California, USA.]
Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg was born in 1872 in Kalanaur, District Gurdaspur. His father, Mirza Niaz Beg, was a land owner in Kalanaur and a God-fearing, righteous person with a Sufistic bent of mind. He was Zilidar in the Canal Department.
After passing his High School Examination, Mirza Yaqub Beg joined Medical College in Lahore in 1890. His younger brother, Mirza Ayyub Beg, also came to Lahore in 1891 for college education. In Lahore, they were renting a house in Anarkali Bazaar. In 1891, when Mirza Yaqub Beg was a second year student in Medical College, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib came to Lahore. Dr. Abdul Hakim Khan, who was a third year student in Medical College, informed Mirza Yaqub Beg about the Promised Messiah’s visit to Lahore and both of them went to meet the Promised Messiah, who was staying at Mehboob Rayon’s house near Hira Mandi. The house had a large gate which was closed and a window was kept open for entry and exit through which both of them were let in.
Some persons were present in the courtyard where Mirza Yaqub Beg was introduced to Maulana Nuruddin Sahib. When Mirza Yaqub Beg extended his hands for a handshake, Maulana Sahib said, “Not here; like this,” and embraced him with love. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg later wrote that with this embracing by the Maulana Sahib he felt a special type of feeling; his chest became cold and he felt as if an electric current had entered his body which filled his heart with special feelings of contentment and exhilaration which he had not experienced ever before in his life.
They then proceeded to the sitting room where the Promised Messiah was sitting and was talking to people in an informal manner. People were enquiring about various religious and spiritual matters and he was answering their queries. During this time, a person came in and hurled filthy abuses in the face of the Promised Messiah, who quietly listened to the abuses. When the person was finished, the Promised Messiah said, “My brother, utter some more.” On hearing these words the person felt ashamed and asked for forgiveness, saying he had not recognized him.
At that time among the visitors there was a well-educated Hindu gentleman. He said he had read the stories of forbearance and toleration of the Christ but had not seen anyone dyed in those colours. Then, pointing towards the Promised Messiah, he said, “This gentleman is the only one whom I find completely dyed on these colours and he will succeed in his mission for sure.” On seeing the countenance of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib and observing his demeanour, Mirza Yaqub Beg was fully convinced that he was truthful and could not be an impostor.
At sunset, the Promised Messiah went upstairs for offering Maghrib prayers and Dr. Abdul Karim Khan asked Mirza Yaqub Beg about returning home. Mirza Yaqub Beg said he would return only after taking the pledge of allegiance (Bai’at) at the hands of the Promised Messiah. Accordingly, a message was sent through Hamid Ali, the personal attendant of the Promised Messiah, and they were asked to go to the upper floor where the Promised Messiah administered Bai’at by repeating all the ten conditions of the Bai’at.
The next day, Mirza Yaqub Beg’s younger brother, Mirza Ayyub Beg, without informing him, went to see the Promised Messiah and took Bai’at on his very first visit. In those days, due to the severity of opposition to the Promised Messiah, taking pledge at his hands was generally not publicly announced. Therefore, both brothers kept this matter secret from each other and neither one of them knew that the other had taken Bai’at at the hands of the Promised Messiah. However, after some time it did not remain hidden as a change in day to day life of both brothers was noticed by the other. Prior to Bai’at, both of them did not attach much importance to the religious rites and were quite lax in the performance of prayers, fasting and other ordinances of the Shariah. After taking the Bai’at, not only did they start offering regular five times daily prayers but they also offered Tahajjud prayers. Mirza Yaqub Beg wrote that he felt a state of ecstasy and absorption in his prayers and experienced seeing true dreams which had a novel and fascinating condition. Until then, he had read only one or one and a half part (sipara) of the Qur’an. Now he started reading the Qur’an and Maulana Raheemullah Sahib, an Ahmadi with a Sufistic bent of mind who was Imam of a masjid near the water tank in the street where Sikhs lived, started coming daily to Mirza Yaqub Beg’s residence in Anarkali to give lessons in the recital of the Qur’an, and thus he had completely read the Qur’an by his second year of Medical College.
Mirza Yaqub Beg’s father, Mirza Niaz Beg, who was posted as Ziladar in Kukkar Hatta District, Multan, on seeing the disinclination of his sons towards performing their religious duties prior to taking Bai’at, used to say that instead of providing a school and college education it would have been better if he would had sent them to a madrassah for religious studies and he would have also loved them to look after their lands as agriculturists. Now, after the Bai’at when both sons went to stay with him to spend their summer vacations, he observed a change in their lives. They were regularly performing their five daily prayers and also the Tahajjud prayer and were crying to Allah during prayers and supplicating to Him with extreme humility and regularly reading the Qur’an. On seeing this change he was wonderstruck that this change had occurred. The sons had not apprised him of their Bai’at with the Promised Messiah.
About a year after taking the Bai’at, Mirza Yaqub Beg visited Qadian where he met the Promised Messiah, Maulvi Abdul Karim and other followers of the Promised Messiah. On seeing the spiritual atmosphere there, he thought that he should invite his father to join this spiritual brotherhood. Because of his father’s favours and love for him he wished to do this favour him, that he should convey to him the good news of the advent of the Promised Messiah and
extend an invitation to him to join the silsilah of the Promised Messiah. Accordingly, while in Qadian, he wrote a sixteen-page letter to his father and, before mailing it, he read it out to the Promised Messiah and the assembly of his followers who were sitting with him in the masjid. On hearing the letter, the Promised Messiah observed, “I wish my sons were like this.” On receiving the letter, Yaqub Beg’s father, who himself had once spent two years of his life as a hermit in the company of Sajjadah Nasheen of Rattar Chattar by completely abandoning the world and had returned home only at the death of his father, and fearing that Yaqub Beg too may become a hermit like him by quitting his studies, wrote back to him advising him not to be hasty in this matter. He informed him that he will come and meet Mirza Sahib and then will advise him about him. Since he himself had spent many years of his life in Tassawaf, therefore, he had the knowledge of recognizing the Sufia-e-Karam (saints). He could breathe the aroma of a saint and determine the spiritual state of that saint.
In reply to this, Mirza Yaqub Beg wrote an eighty-page letter to his father giving more details about the Promised Messiah and further assuring him that he should not worry about his academic career as he was more diligent in this matter than before and that his retentive memory had increased much and that he studied devotedly so much so that whatever he read once he could recite by heart. The time which other boys spent playing or idly talking, he spent in offering prayers and reading the Qur’an.
Dr. Yaqub Beg once wrote that the result of this change in his life’s routine after taking the Bai’at was in spite of the fact that he had joined Medical College after High School while other boys had come after spending two years (for FA, FSc) or four years (for BA, BSc). Even from his second year onward, that is, the last four years of Medical College, he used to pass the examination by standing first for all those years and as a result was earning a stipend for his studies. At the end he was made the House Surgeon, a post which was offered only to the student who was considered to be the best. When the Promised Messiah was busy in debates with Abdullah Atham in Amritsar, Mirza Yaqub Beg’s father came to Amritsar to see the Promised Messiah. In his first meeting he was convinced of the piety and spiritual attainments of the Promised Messiah and took Bai’at at his hands, and as a matter of honouring him, Maulana Nuruddin Sahib renewed his Bai’at by joining with him in taking the Bai’at afresh. Mirza Niaz Beg informed both his sons who were present in Amritsar that the scent of the Promised Messiah was so strong that it seemed that his whole body was nothing but fragrance.
Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg wrote that when he went to Qadian for the first time, in those days the number of guests used to be small. Maulvi Abdul Karim was very influenced by the views of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and used to ask a lot of questions to the Promised Messiah, therefore, much of the Promised Messiah’s time used to pass in answering those questions. This kind of debate was very useful in that it provided a chance for learning for those who were present at
those question and answer sessions. Ultimately, Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahib recognized the weakness of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s views and became an ardent believer in Allah and Unity of Allah.
Maulvi Sahib had very special compassion for Yaqub Beg and Ayyub Beg. During his visit Mirza Yaqub Beg saw in a dream that the Promised Messiah had made him and Maulvi Abdul Karim as brothers. When he told that dream to the Promised Messiah, he said, “From today both of you are brothers to each other.” This special relationship remained with them for life
During Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahib’s last ailment, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg was staying in Qadian for three months and was taking lessons in the Qur’an and Hadith from Maulana Nuruddin Sahib. He spent about two months treating Maulvi Abdul Karim. At times, when Maulvi Sahib’s disease got serious, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg spent days and nights for weeks in his treatment without even getting a wink of sleep. Not even a most devoted son would have rendered this much service or shown so much concern for his father as was done by Mirza Yaqub Beg. Finally, when Maulvi
Abdul Karim Sahib passed away Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg and Maulvi Muhammad Ali Sahib were crying so bitterly and incessantly that the Promised Messiah had to remind them to be patient and submit to the Will of God.
When Mirza Yaqub Beg and his brother Ayyub Beg had taken the pledge at the hands of the Promised Messiah in 1891, they were the youngest members of the Promised Messiah’s followers and all the elders of the community used to show a special compassion towards them. If there was one day’s vacation in college they would go to Qadian by night train, spend the day there and return by the next night’s train to Lahore. Similarly, when Maulana Nuruddin Sahib went to Lahore from Jammu, the Beg brothers used to spend all available time in his company. They would reach where the Maulana was staying early in the morning. At times, when he was still asleep, and they would lay down by his side. He would explain to them the meanings of prayer and Surah-e-Fateha. Then they will offer morning prayers with him and remain in his company till the college starting time and return again after college. They would leave when he went to sleep. Maulana Nuruddin Sahib had developed a special compassionate liking for the Beg brothers. He had many friends in Lahore and used to stay at their homes but at times he would stay at the Beg brothers’ residence in Anarkali. If he was visiting Lahore for only a few hours, then he would visit them in college. Due to this special compassion he used to call them beta (son). Even during his Khilafat days he used to address Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg as beta (son) or at times bhai (brother). Similarly, the Promised Messiah used to treat both the brothers as his own sons. When Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg took his final Medical Examination the Promised Messiah received an ilham, “You have passed the examination.” The Promised Messiah has explained this ilham in Haqeeqat-al-Wahy in the words, “I had supplicated for Yaqub Beg. Since there is an affinity between him and I, therefore, Allah has addressed me, but in fact Yaqub Beg was meant thereby.”
The Promised Messiah would often summon Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg from Lahore for his own treatment, his wife’s and other members of his family. On one such occasion, when he was called to treat the Promised Messiah’s wife, and Dr Yaqub Beg was going downstairs in the new home after examining her, the Promised Messiah said, “Please pray for her health too because a brother’s prayer in favour of his sister is accepted. During the Promised Messiah’s last ailment, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg was summoned to Ahmadiyya Buildings from his residence in Gumti Bazaar at 2:00 AM. When he arrived, the Promised Messiah said, “Please prescribe medicine for treatment and please also pray for my recovery,” and added, “in reality, the treatment is in the heavens.”
After passing his Medical Examination Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg went to Qadian. His job appointment letter was received there. On receipt of this letter he saw the Promised Messiah and said that he was about to embark on a new career in life and requested advice which may serve as a guide in his professional life. The Promised Messiah said, “In your profession, your relationship with your patients will be with their physical being and not their spirits or souls. Therefore, a person who spends his whole night in prayers and remembrance of God and one who uses abusive language about God day and night should be equal in receiving treatment for their physical diseases.” Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg remembered this advice of his spiritual mentor and guide for the whole of his life and wherever he worked as a doctor, worshippers of God – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians – as well as atheists, all received the same treatment at his hands and all of them always reposed their confidence in him equally. He remained popular amongst all of them so much so that Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, though an enemy of the Promised Messiah, was a great admirer of Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg and once he, along with a deputation of Ahle-Hadith, came to see Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg at his home in Lahore to specially thank him for medical treatment to his wife and himself. Once, Maulvi M.H. Batalvi came to know that Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg was going to Qadian. He received him at the Batala Railway Station and took him to his own home and treated him with sumptuous food and then saw him off the next morning, walking with him up to the road to Qadian. He said, “Whenever you visit Qadian, please stay at my home on your way; you have a right on this house because Mirza Sahib (the Promised Messiah) also used to stay at this house.”
Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg used to say that the great success which he achieved in the medical profession was the result of the Promised Messiah’s prayers and his being a member of the silsilah founded by the Promised Messiah. He was of the view that his exemplary moral character and piety, which was praised equally by friends and foes, was the result of keeping company with the Promised Messiah and the pious and righteous persons who had gathered around him. He used to say that all Ahmadis should manifest through their good moral character that special difference acceptance of Ahmadiyyat made in their personalities. Like the companions of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him), every Ahmadi, through his or her high moral character, should be a special exemplar and become a minaret of enlightenment for the sake of the service and dissemination of religion so that others may be attracted towards the path of guidance and people may be convinced of the truth of the Promised Messiah by seeing their truthful intentions, pious lives and righteousness.
Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg was a God-fearing person and often treated poor patients free of charge, and when the patient had no means to purchase medicines he would also pay for the medicine, including tests, and even for food. He was a hospitable person. His home used to remain full of guests at all times. People used to come from outside Lahore, stay at his home, enjoyed sumptuous meals and get medical treatment for their illnesses. He was one of the leading doctors of Lahore in his time.
During his college years, he used to donate one rupee per month to the Ahmadiyya Movement. After becoming a doctor he used to pay one hundred rupees per month as monthly chanda (subscription). He used to donate thousands of rupees on every special appeal for the projects of the Anjuman. For his piety and devotion and dedicated services to the cause of Ahmadiyyat, the Promised Messiah nominated him a member of the Majlise Motamaddeen of the Sadar Anjuman in 1905, a position which he held till the Split in 1914. In 1914, after the Split, he became one of the Five Founding Members of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam, Lahore. In the beginning, all the expenses of this Anjuman, which was being raised from scratch, were met by donations from Sheikh Rahmatullah Sahib, Dr. Syed Muhammad Hussain Sahib and Dr Mirza Yaqub Beg Sahib. He generously donated towards funding of the Anjuman’s projects, which, amongst others, included construction of the Anjuman’s office building, financing of the Woking Muslim Mission and construction of the Berlin Mosque, printing of the English translation of the Qur’an, opening of the Mission in Indonesia, printing of Paigham-e-Sulah (Urdu), The Light, Young Islam etc. and other literature on Islam, salaries of the missionaries, editors of the publications, office staff, school teachers, and much more. In addition to this, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg used to make generous donations towards all Muslim causes. He used to make large donations to Anjuman Himayat-e-Islam, Lahore, which was formed for building schools and colleges for the education of Muslim children and youth. In addition to donating funds, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg used to work as Honorary Medical Officer of Islamia College, Lahore where he used to provide medical services for a few hours daily for the treatment of students of Islamia College. This meant a sacrifice of time during which he could have made thousands of rupees a month.
In recognition of his services and lavish donations he was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Anjuman Himayat-e-Islam which was called the Council of Anjuman Himayat-e-Islam. In 1936, Maulvi Ahmad Ali, a Sunni Maulvi of Lahore who was running his own Anjuman under the name Anjuman Khaddamul Muslimeen, had become a member of the Council of Anjuman Himayat-e-Islam. He moved a resolution that Ahmadis should be removed from membership of that Anjuman and no Ahmadi should be allowed any employment in the Anjuman nor should any Ahmadi student be granted admission to any educational institution being run by the Anjuman Himayat-eIslam. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg protested this resolution but to no avail. Maulvi Ahmad Ali got his object and the resolution was passed through majority vote. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg was shocked and on returning from the meeting he suffered a stroke from which he did not recover. He passed away after two or three days. Inna Lilah-e-Wa Inna Ilaih Rajeo’on.
In his Wassiyat Nama (The Will) Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg donated to the Central Anjuman the two properties he had built and owned within the compound of the Ahmadiyya Buildings located at Brandreth Road, Lahore.
He left behind two sons: Mirza Daud Beg, who was at that time practicing homeopathy medicine in Turkey; and Mirza Abdur Rahman Beg, who was an Officer in the Railways and who, after retirement, settled in Austin, Texas, USA and was son-in-law of the late Hazrat Ameer, Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan Sahib.
Dr Mirza Yaqub Beg had three daughters. One of them was the late Begum Razia Madad Ali, mother-in-law of the present Hazrat Ameer, Dr. Abdul Karim Saeed Pasha Sahib, and Dr. Zahid Aziz of the UK. She was a very active member of the Ahmadiyya Jama‘at, like her venerable father.