By Hazrat Syeda Amatul Sabooh Begum Sahiba, respected wife of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba
(Originally published in Urdu, this historic article has been translated to English for the first time by The Review of Religions and published on Khilafat Day)
In accordance with the Divine Scriptures, one hundred years of the flourishing system of Khilafat have come to pass in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We are now in the remarkable fifth era of Khilafat in which God Almighty, out of His Divine Decree, appointed my husband – Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahib (Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper) – to this station as the fifth manifestation of the institution of Khilafat. ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللهِ يُؤْتِيْهِ مَنْ يَّشَآءُ [That is Allah’s grace; He bestows it on whom He pleases]
The National President of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Pakistan [auxiliary organisation for the youth] wrote to me stating that on the occasion of the 100 year jubilee [of the institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya], the Tashhizul Azhaan magazine wish to publish a special edition on Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba. In this respect, he expressed his desire for me to write an article by the name “Huzur – An exemplary Husband”, and that I relate some accounts regarding his character, and to recount some memories prior to his appointment to the station of Khilafat. Hence, I shall write a few things which come to mind.
Full Cooperation in Domestic Matters
Even prior to his life as the Khalifa, Huzur had already dedicated himself for the service of faith, and he would spend his days and nights occupied in these matters. Yet despite his official duties he would also pay great interest to household matters, and show his complete cooperation.
In 1977, under the Nusrat Jahan Scheme, he was appointed as the Principal of an Ahmadiyya Secondary School. When we moved to Ghana, at the time the country was experiencing a serious economic crisis, and due to the lack of rain there was also a severe drought. The state of affairs of the country were extremely deplorable. The foremost notable aspect of Huzur’s character, which I dearly valued was that he never displayed any form of selfishness. Despite his vast responsibilities, he would always take care of me and the children to the best of his ability. Indeed for a Waqf-e-Zindagi [life devotee] to fulfil their objectives their spouse must also make sacrifices and fully support them. In particularly when it comes to the stipend that the Community graciously grants a Waqf-e-Zindagi to run their home; without the cooperation of the husband, the wife would remain in a constant struggle to manage her home with this limited allowance.
I have observed in certain households that according to the desire of the husband, food and fresh chapatti would be prepared, and a special arrangement would be made for him, whereas the wife and children would eat only the leftovers. Yet, Huzur never expressed such a desire nor did he ever make such demands. Thus, on one hand my appreciation and honour for Huzur continued to increase, while on the other hand I was astonished that there were other men who had dedicated their life, yet offered no sacrifice when it came to domestic affairs. Instead, they demanded a sacrifice from their wives and children.
Huzur was the Manager of the Ahmadiyya Agricultural Farm in Tamale, north Ghana where for the first time [in the country’s history] he successfully grew wheat. We stayed in Tamale for two years for the purpose of agricultural farming. Tamale is the headquarters for the Northern Regions [in Ghana]. At times, during the sowing and the harvesting seasons, Huzur would spend two or three nights in the huts of the local villagers. During this time he would happily endure all kinds of difficulties. Moreover, he assisted me in every possible way when it came to household chores. He would even collect water and bring it from outside.
There was always a shortage of water in Ghana. We had kept a tank outside which the tanker would come and fill with water. There were large plastic drums in the kitchen and bathroom; Huzur would fill up [these drums] with buckets [of water] after every morning-prayer. No matter how urgent his work, he never said to me that he was busy and I should fill these [drums] myself. Whenever I fell ill he would take on the responsibility of cooking for us. He would actively support me in teaching the Holy Quran to our children.
Trust in God Almighty
Shortly after we had moved to Tamale (Northern Region of Ghana), there was a doctor’s strike in the hospital. The doctors would only come to the hospital between 9am to 5pm, and apart from these timings, including the weekend, there would be no medical staff available. Our son Waqas, may Allah protect him, was only two days old at the time when he developed severe diarrhoea. Due to our new surroundings, inadequate medical facilities and the doctor’s strike, it became an extremely worrying situation indeed. It was impossible to see the suffering of such a small infant. Our daughter Farah, may Allah protect her, was also very young at the time. I had brought some medicine for her from Pakistan, the potency of which was very strong, and which the doctors would never recommend for such a young infant. However, we were greatly worried and concerned at this very moment. Placing his complete trust in God Almighty and supplicating to Him, Huzur dipped a finger of his right hand into the medicine and gave it to Waqas twice – who at the time was extremely weak due to diarrhoea and not drinking milk – and said that no one could know what Allah’s decree was, yet this regret will not remain that a cure was untried. Within a few minutes Waqas’ health improved, and God Almighty miraculously cured him. Alhamdulillah [all praise is due to God].
Whenever the children fell ill, Huzur would help me in every possible way. During meetings where men would congregate in our home, he would wash the feeding bottles himself, for in order to reach the kitchen I would have had to pass through this congregation of men.
The Kindness of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh to Huzur
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh had great trust in Huzur, and he treated Huzur with great love and affection. When we were in Ghana, Huzur’s parents (Hazrat Mirza Mansoor Ahmad Sahib and Hazrat Sayyida Apa Nasira Begum Sahiba) went to visit their eldest son Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad Sahib (Huzur’s elder brother) in USA. During the days that they were visiting America, Huzur received a letter from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh in which he had written a personal note with his own hand stating, “My dear brother and sister [referring to Huzur’s parents] are currently visiting America. I wonder whether or not they have any news of my life-devotee son who is striving in the service of faith, and does his thought even cross their minds. He is serving his faith in the jungles of Africa. However, this courageous son of mine is very dear to me.” One can observe the boundless love and affection Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh had for Huzur.
A Great Lesson in Tauhid (Oneness of God)
When our children enrolled into school in Ghana, it was a Protestant school where Christian doctrines were taught. Huzur advised the children that if there ever was a hymn sung regarding Jesus being the son of God, or in which there was any element of Shirk [associating partners with God] then they must not sing it. During assemblies these hymns were sung.
On their first day of school the children returned home beaten with the cane as a punishment for not singing these hymns. Huzur reassured the children and explained to them that no matter what happens they must not sing such hymns. For a continuous three days they were vetted with this punishment. On the fourth day Huzur went to the school himself and told the Head Teacher, “We are Muslims and worship One God. We believe Jesusas to be a Prophet but not the son of God. For this reason my children will not sing these hymns at school.” The Head teacher said, “Bible studies is a compulsory subject in the course, [if they do not take this] your children will otherwise fail.” Huzur replied, “Whenever this subject arises, my children will write, ‘The Christian point of view is such and such.’” At this the Head Teacher granted the children permission not to recite the hymns. Huzur resolved this issue with great wisdom and understanding. This was the first lesson in Tauhid that Huzur imparted to his children.
Adherence to the Sharia
In Ghana one of our neighbours was a colonel. One day he sent a bottle of alcohol to put in our fridge. Huzur refused to do this. Upon this the colonel became enraged and came knocking forcefully on our door. Huzur opened the door and sat him inside. He enquired as to why he was angry. The colonel replied that what harm was there in putting an unopened bottle in our fridge. Huzur said, “Our Prophetsa stated that the one who drinks alcohol, the one who supplies alcohol to drink, the one who prepares alcohol, the one who stores alcohol and the one who sells it are all hell-bound. So decide for yourself, would I like to be among the inmates of the Fire? Of course not.” His anger subsided and he apologised as he left.
It was always Huzur’s habit to silently observe everything and then make a firm decision. A teacher once remarked on this saying, “You appear to remain quiet, yet you observe everything in great detail.” It is not Huzur’s habit to be so apparent in his expression but he quietly takes attentive care of all his relatives and continues to do so.
If ever I became anxious over certain issues he would always tell me to be patient and pray, and that I will witness for myself the great blessings of God Almighty. Whenever I was faced with a difficulty, he would always raise my spirits. He never said to me that I was wrong, nor was he ever upset with anyone. Whenever he was given grief by someone he would tend to read the following part of a couplet:
کیا تیرے ساتھ لگا کر دل میں خود بھی کمینہ بن جاؤں
Shall I associate myself with you and in turn become wretched too?
Obedience to Khilafat
Huzur’s temperament was imbued with obedience to the Khulafa [Caliphs], and would even consider mere indications as an instruction to obey. His love and attachment to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh was instilled with the utmost devotion. Similarly Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh held special love and affection for Huzur, and cared for him greatly. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh knew that Huzur loved Parathe [flat piece of unleavened fried bread] in his childhood even though it was against Huzur’s nature to express his desire no matter what the circumstances may be. However, everyone came to know of the national and economic situation of Ghana through the news. With reference to this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh wrote in a very loving manner, “God only knows if oil is available for Masroor to prepare Parathe.” In reply to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, Huzur wrote, “We have pineapples, bananas and tangerines to eat.” Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh commented on this, “You are very fortunate. The pineapples here are extremely expensive.”
When Hazrat Sayyida Mehr Apa Sahiba enquired, “What do you have in Ghana?” Huzur gave a very comprehensive answer, “God Almighty’s grace”. When my daughter Farah, may Allah protect her, had an operation for her gall bladder, we took care of both of her children. Huzur spent several hours walking with Mansoor [Huzur’s grandson] to keep him engaged.
A Trip to Qadian
We planned to visit Qadian in 1991 and accompanying us were my mother and father, my auntie Amat-ul-Naseer Sahiba (Khala Cheeru) and my grandmother Mrs Farkhanda Shah Sahiba. My brother Qasim was also with us. He took it upon himself to take care of Khala Cheeru and my grandmother. Huzur very resolutely took responsibility and looked after all the travel preparations for the rest of us – to pack all the luggage, to roll up all the beddings and all other necessary arrangements. Furthermore, during our journey and stay he took great care of the elders with me.
Honour and Regard for Khalifatul Masih
Huzur had great devotion to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh and respected him with the depths of his heart. Once when he was speaking to him on the phone he spontaneously bowed down in respect to him. One person asked as to who he was speaking to over the phone. Huzur replied that it was Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh.
Absolute Obedience to Khalifatul Masih
In every matter Huzur would act upon and fulfil all the instructions of the Khalifa. He would not allow for even the slightest deviation in doing so. When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh fell ill, he had instructed that there was no need for anyone to come and visit him. However, his health deteriorated and it became a worrying situation. The members of the Community were also concerned. When Mian Saifi (Mirza Safeer Ahmad Sahib) saw that the condition of his health was increasingly deteriorating, he phoned Huzur informing him of the situation and said that it would be wise for him to come. Hence, Huzur travelled to London and went to meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh. Upon seeing him, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh enquired as to why he had come. Huzur replied, “Members of the Community are deeply concerned due to your ill-health, hence I have come to enquire about your health.” Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh then said, “The situation is such that you should return immediately”. Huzur said “Very well, I shall book a return seat immediately”. Later on, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh asked Mian Saifi Sahib, “He [i.e. Huzur] is so obedient to me that he could not come here without my permission, so how is it that he came?” Mian Saifi Sahib replied that he had spoken to him over the phone requesting him to come, so that is why he travelled here. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh was then reassured that the high levels of obedience of his courageous son were still as he had expected of him.
Huzur possesses a very refined disposition, yet he leads a life of simplicity. The simple lifestyle in the home he had prior to Khilafat is still present now. He did not let his routine be affected in any way. He never criticises the food he eats, and he absolutely dislikes wastage of food.
It was after he was appointed as the Khalifa that once I became extremely ill, and I was suffering from a severe migraine. Huzur first prepared breakfast for me, and then after making his own breakfast he went to the office. Even now, despite his extremely busy schedule he still manages to plant flowers, prune the plants and do other such tasks.
I have briefly mentioned what has come to mind. I conclude with this prayer that may God Almighty enable me and my future progeny to always remain loyal servants to Khilafat, and to remain helpers of the Khalifa of the time in fulfilling the mission of the Promised Messiahas. May Huzur’s life and health be filled with immense blessings, and may the Community continue to reach newer heights of progress under his great leadership. Also, may the revelation of the Promised Messiahas اِنِّي مَعَكَ وَ مَعَ اَهْلِكَ [I am with you and your family] continue to be fulfilled in his physical and spiritual progeny until the Day of Judgement – Ameen.