This entire entry was taken from the islam_Ahmadiyya reddit forum.

The following material is referenced from Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya (Letters of Ahmad) Volume 5, Number 3, published on February 18, 1929 compiled by Yaqoob Ali Irfani Sahib and printed in Qadian.

About these letters, Irfani Sahib has said in the preface, and I quote:

“I feel ashamed in having to say that it is sad that until now, there are very few admirers in the jamaat who fully appreciate the value of these invaluable gems”

One of these gems on page 166 is letter number 273 written by the Promised Messiah on October 31st, 1899 addressed to Munshi Rustam Ali Sahib, whereby he is trying to seek Munshi Sahib’s help in finding a match for his companion Maulvi Mohammad Ali Sahib.

I feel that the letter is self-evident in identifying what is critical in seeking a girl for marriage. I will just give some perspective to a couple of items here.

First of all, why the insistence on a female barber? I cannot think of any other reason other than the fact that female barbers having spent their lives providing female grooming services, had a hands-on knowledge of female anatomy, presumably unmatched by a woman in any other capacity. They would be able to provide the information the promised Messiah was looking for, in a much more accurate way than a lay person. I will let you do your own analysis of the situation.

Second, Maulvi Mohammad Ali was not a young man at the time of this Nikah, he had already been divorced a long time ago, so why seek the younger of the daughters of the Superintendent? I can only guess that young girls were most sought after and it is consistent with the pattern exhibited in other marriages of the family.

Third, why is all this information expected to be transmitted back to the promised Messiah and not Maulvi Mohammad Ali in private? Does a third person really have to know and be able to pass judgement on the detailed physical attributes of one’s future wife? Beats me.

Fourth, that laundry list of what to look for in the girl by sending in an ‘expert’ in female anatomy for inspections, is so sickening, I felt like puking. But that is probably just me, it must have increased others in faith.

I want to conclude by saying that perhaps our jamaat should actively encourage our young women to take up the profession of female barbers and provide their services free of charge to the membership, so the success rate of ahmadiyya weddings can improve. I see the aunties are doing a pretty pathetic job of evaluating the most important attributes of prospective brides. I also suggest that our Rishta Nata website should have a spreadsheet to voluntarily fill in all these physical attributes which could then be attested by the local sadr sahiba or the family physician.

In the end, I would love for the aplogists to provide an alternate spin to this letter so that all those of us who are feeble of heart and mind can regain the state of peace which was disturbed by my blasphemy.

Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya (Letters of Ahmad) Volume 5, Number 3, published on February 18, 1929 compiled by Yaqoob Ali Irfani Sahib and printed in Qadian.


Enveloped Letter Number 273.

In the name of Allah, the gracious, the merciful, We praise and send blessings on his benificient prophet (Mohammad). 31 October, 1899.

My dear brother Munshi Rustam Ali Sahib, Assalamo-Allekum wa Rehmatullah Wa Barakatohoo.

Received your kind letter. Because it is learnt from your writing that the office superintendent from whose daughter there is a matrimonial relationship request, is somewhat bad-tempered and easily agitable, so it seems appropriate that you should discuss these things with him openly that the relationship is sought with the younger girl. And that the nikah will be performed with the observance of Shariah(written in bold for emphasis). There will be no extravagance. (If) there are noble rituals in the family regarding dresses and jewelry, then they should let us know themselves, so these are prepared(accordingly). Also seek a firm statement from them that they will stick to it.

And also it is important to point out that if I send a woman from this place (Qadian), she will be a barber. And she cannot come alone because she will be a young woman. Her husband will go with her. The cost of their services will be 7 to 8 rupees. And for two people, the travel expense for traveling by horse carriage will be another two rupees and the train ticket for two people will cost another six to seven rupees. As such, I will have to spend about 20 rupees. However if you could offer 3 to 4 rupees to a woman from Ambala such that she inspects the girl and gives an honest description, that will help with economy of expenses. We (I) are willing to spend so much but fear that this doesn’t turn into the Gurdaspur episode where after all the expenses, we were refused.

Please try and look for a female barber who seems honest. Send her after giving her some money. She should be able to describe the complete physical appearance (of the candidate girl). i.e. How do her eyes look? How is her nose? How is the neck? i.e is it slender or short? How is her body? Is she plump or skinny (weak)? How is the face? Is it proportioned like a book, or is it round? Does she have a small head or a big one? What about her height? Is she tall or short? Are the eyes light colored or black? Is her complexion white, wheatish or black? Does she have smallpox marks on her face or is it blemish free?

Meaning, all the attributes for which a woman has to be sent from here, should be described by the local woman. And she should describe these attributes honestly. This will benefit us. Because I am overly concerned about these things, please pay her on my behalf. I could still spend 20 rupees and send some woman from here with her husband but I feared that we might meet the same fate as Gurdaspur where we had a half-baked settlement (eventual refusal). If you were to pay attention to this matter then you will be able to find a wise and honest woman who is a (good) judge of beauty and ugliness, in the city of Ambala. You should seek such a woman from discussing the matter with someone.

And it is incorrect that my brother Maulvi Mohammad Ali Sahib, has a prior wife. A long time ago he divorced her, now there is no woman.

After full investigation, please write back promptly.

Was Salam.Khaksaar, Ghulam Ahmad.

Links and Related Essay’s

Critical Role of Female Barbers in Ahmadiyya Matchmaking from islam_ahmadiyya

What is Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyyah?

Who is Shaikh Yacub Ali Irfani?



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