Editor’s Note: We promised our readers in our January Edition that we were working to procure experiences of visitors to the Holy Abode of Qadian, the town where Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi was born and lived. Our readers will find this account by Professor Artemyev of his stay in Qadian of particular interest considering the esteemed writer is a well-established scholar of religions.
As a scholar in Religiology studying various religions for over 50 years, from a secular perspective, I have always had a desire to visit Qadian and the other spiritual places relating to the Founder of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[as] since my first encounter with the Ahmadiyya Community. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[as] proclaimed that he received revelation from Allah the Almighty who entrusted him with the mission of the Mujaddid (Reformer), and later in 1891, appointed him as the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi. He publicly declared then, “I swear by God, in whose hands is my life, that it is He who appointed me as a prophet, and called me the Promised Messiah. He showed great signs in support of my claim”.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[as] spoke at the Conference of Great Religions in 1896. In this conference which took place in Lahore, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[as] expressed his interpretation of key points in Islam. This blessed address has since been published as a separate book under the title The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam. Thus, for over 100 years, the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been living in strict accordance with the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. Before visiting Qadian, I had the opportunity to participate in the Jalsa Salana UK during the era of the Fourth Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad[rh], and more recently upon the invitation of the Fifth Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad[aba].
Travelling to Qadian, the flight took a little over three hours. We were warmly received by Dr. Syed Bilal, who knew us personally as he had completed his medical studies in our city, Almaty. We stayed in Delhi for 3 days. Despite refurbishments that were taking place in the mosque, Mr. Shafiq, President of the Delhi Community, was a most hospitable host and took great care of us.
The long trip from Delhi to Qadian was a bit tedious but informative nonetheless, as it gave us an opportunity to get a glimpse of the natural beauty and towns of North India. We arrived in Qadian late in the evening and consequently we couldn’t see anything but the guest house. Nevertheless, the guest houses internal architecture and comfort struck us.
We were accompanied by two people who took care of our Kazakh-Kyrgyz group in Qadian – Maulana Arshad Mahmood, who had worked as a Missionary in Kyrgyzstan, and Mr. Abdur-Rahman, who was responsible for accommodation and transport of guests.
In the morning, we began to familiarise ourselves with the town. I was struck by the friendliness of the people. At our every step we, though complete strangers, were greeted with the salutation; Assalamu alaikum.Inadvertently, I recalled the words of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Fifth Khalifah of the Promised Messiahas, which he said on 27 May 2008 at the centenary celebrations at the Excel Centre London:
“… We need to spread love, not just among members of the Community, but also among those who are not yet. This kindness and gratitude, no doubt, should be our main goal. Let fountains of love for people gush forth from our hearts.”
I am witness that this instruction by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad[aba], had penetrated deep into the hearts of all Ahmadis living in Qadian. For me, it was particularly important as at the time, I was prompted to an in-depth study of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, primarily due to the credo of the Movement: Love for All, Hatred for None!
The keynote addresses and all the presentations at the Jalsa Salana were very interesting and informative, but the powerful speech by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad[aba], transmitted by satellite television and the Internet, was an absolute apotheosis. He produced a profound analysis of the current state of affairs and called to find ways to preserve global peace.
On the first evening, after the first day sessions of the Convention, our group met Wakil-A’la, the Head of Tahrik Jadid. It transpired that we had met before in Rabwah, and he remembered me. His deputy had heard my lecture at the Jami’ah – the Missionary University in Rabwah.
After my speech on the second day of Jalsa, I suddenly became recognisable (as members of our delegation joked, “The Professor re-qualified into a fashion model”). Indeed, many people came up to meet me and asked for a joint photo. It was impossible to refuse. I have never experienced such sincerity and openness. At the same time, I naturally felt very uneasy due to the great attention focused towards my humble self.
A visit to Bahishti Maqbarah, the Heavenly Graveyard, where the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[as] and his Companions are buried, including the First Khalifah, Hazrat Al-Haaj Hakeem Maulavi Noorudin[ra], will forever remain in my memory. The site is indeed paradisal, surrounded by greenery and flowers. Everything has been designed for a person to not only honour the deceased, but to also sit in solitude and contemplate the meaning of life.
A conversation with Mr. Inam Ghauri, to whom I paid a visit, has left a profound impression on my memory. He told me about the Ahmadiyya Community in India at length, answered all my questions and then personally took me to the Complex of Dar-ul-Masih and showed me around: the Mubarak Mosque, the Aqsa Mosque, the White Minaret, Bait-ud-Du’a where the Promised Messiah[as] spent time in special prayers, the room where he was born and other important places. I also visited the new building of the Khilafat Library, which has gradually been expanding and stocking new publications.
As a group, we visited Hoshiarpur, where in 1886 Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[as] spent 40 days in solitude and assiduous prayers for fresh signs of Islam’s truth and vitality and where he also received a revelation about the imminent birth of a promised son. This son, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad[ra], was later to be divinely elected as the Second spiritual successor of the Community (Khalifah). There was much advancement under his leadership, particularly with the establishment of the entire organisational structure of the Community. We were fortunate enough to visit the Noor Mosque, where the elections of the Second Khalifa had taken place.
It was sad to part with Qadian and its wonderful people; this trip has left an indelible mark on my heart.
1. Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. [Publisher]
2. Peace be upon you. [Publisher]
3. ‘The New Scheme’; Initiated by the Second Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra in 1934. [Publisher]
4. Theological Institute for training missionaries. [Publisher]