The Khilafat of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru)
Whether winter or summer, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) would always go for brisk walks in the morning following Fajr prayers. These walks would extend for five miles, but Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) did not show any reluctance to undertake such physical exertion. He was a man of perseverance, strength, and arduousness. Quite often, one of his security guards would hand him a bag of breadcrumbs and he would take pleasure in feeding the birds along the edge of the lake. This daily routine was symptomatic of the duration of his entire Khilafat; just as he executed his walks daily without hesitation, so did he embrace the lengthy work and sacrifice that was required of him as Khalifa.
The election of Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) as Khalifa in 1982 was as much of an honour as it was a surprise. Members of his family who witnessed this election recall the shock and embarrassment experienced by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) on the night of his election in particular. Sahibzada Mirza Luqman Ahmad, the son of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III(ru) and son-in-law of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru), remembers the slightly apprehensive look of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) as he placed the turban of his father on to the head of the new Khalifa. Having graduated from a simple cap to the donning of a most significant turban, he began his service as the next Khalifa in succession.
After being sworn into the Khilafat and taking the bai’at of those present for his election, he went home to his family. Before approaching his wife and daughters, he took the oath of covenant of his great-aunt Amatul Hafeez Begum, the last surviving daughter of the Promised Messiah(as). On this occasion, she granted him the silver ring which had become the lasting symbol of Khilafat. With a green emerald stone in the front, it was inscribed with the divine words, “Is God not sufficient for His servant?” – one of the earliest revelations received by the Promised Messiah(as).
Sahibzada Mirza Safeer Ahmad, the son-in-law of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) describes the emotional state of the Khalifa at the time as one of anxiety and humility. The rise to Khilafat was quite surprising and unexpected to him, though there were those including his own mother who had known that he would become Khalifa one day. Within the very first few days of his Khilafat, he misplaced his newly acquired ring. He was later found in prostration, asking in surrender to God: “If I cannot look after a ring, how can I look after Khilafat?” 1
This relatively insecure attitude soon gave way to a lasting grace, benevolence, and charm that would be symptomatic of his name for years to come during and after his life.
From the very outset, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) employed many of the qualities that would enable him to become an efficacious and great Khalifa. For one, his memory of people was absolutely astounding – with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of letters pouring into his office every day from Ahmadis all over the world, it was seemingly impossible for the Khalifa to keep up with the individual issues and requests of those who wrote to him. However, he managed to go beyond even giving each letter its individual attention. He personally noted how letters addressed to him should be answered, and thus retained memories of those who wrote to him, their families, careers, and education. All this was done without the use of tape recorders to dictate letters. To the amazement of his staff, he was able to recall information on these individuals when he actually met them in person.
His gift of memory had been with him since his pre-Khilafat days. One physician recalls that during his time as Khalifa, he had the opportunity to meet with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) and was shocked by the fact that he had recalled having met with him fifteen years earlier! Not only this, but he was also able to recall the exact street and company he was with at the time.
As Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) adopted his new role, he developed a method choosing subjects of Friday sermons. He usually dove into intense Qur’anic study every day following Tahajjud prayers. It was from his findings and studies at these times that he was inspired to choose the subjects of his Friday sermons. When asked by people as to how he chose such appropriate verses from the Qur’an to support his points, he responded: “…the fact is that it is the other way around. The verse chose me as an instrument to express the truth that it contains.”2
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) became tireless in his efforts. The source of his energy could only have been from God Himself. Later in his life, his evening sleep consisted of three hours, accompanied by two half-hour naps during the day. His secretaries’ desks would be full when they came back in the mornings, showing that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) had worked well into the night and in the morning.
The level of commitment and dedication to the Jama’at went hand-in-hand with the love and joy of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru). In 1991, at the time of the Qadian Jalsa, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) travelled to Delhi with the intention of continuing on to Qadian. His wife had been diagnosed with cancer at the time and was in a very precarious state. After arranging to have the best medical attention and treatment available for Begum Sahiba, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) continued his journey to Qadian.
When Begum Sahiba passed away nearly a year following the visit to India, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) consciously put aside his heartache to ensure that Eid festivities two days later went on as planned. As a steadfast leader, he readily met the requirements of his position and depended on Allah alone to bring him out of his sadness. On top of bearing the loss as a husband, he was now responsible for raising his two younger daughters, Tooba and Mona, alone. The dual role of sole-parent and Khalifa was immense, but he did not allow it to interfere with his dedication to the work of the community.
As a Khalifa, he was able to maintain a balance in his worldviews – he was neither too strict nor too permissive. His answer to doubts from others as to his change in attitude was simply that changing times called for changing measures. Addressing the need to enhance the moral and spiritual fibre of Ahmadis, he said: “At a particular period of time, and in certain contexts, a policy of strictness can create or achieve those objectives. Later on, when other things have changed, you have to change the policy in order to achieve the same objectives.”3
The story of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s(ru) escape from Pakistan in 1984 is interwoven with many personal encounters with diplomats, secret messages, premonitions of what was to come by various Jama’at members close to the Khalifa – but perhaps most significantly, by the utter calmness and honesty in the attitude of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru). Knowing full well that the Pakistani government was calling for the end of his Khilafat and the Ahmadiyya community, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) never stopped iterating the fact that his community was a peaceful one. Upon rising suspicion following a visit from a U.S. Embassy official from Islamabad in March of 1984, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) left Rabwah for Islamabad to investigate the changing and increasingly negative political attitude towards the Jama’at. While he was there, outspoken critics against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community poured into the capital – and then, almost simultaneously, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) received two notices. The first was from General Zia-ul-Haq, stating that though the ulema were rioting and causing a public stir against him, he should feel safe knowing that the government was taking full precautions for his safety. The second notice, from an officer within the Intelligence Bureau, advised that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) should leave Islamabad at once. Realising that a plot for a possible attack on him was being stirred, he left immediately for Rabwah.
In the following month, a pivotal point in the history of Ahmadiyyat in Pakistan came in the form of Ordinance XX in Pakistan proclaimed by General Zia under martial law. Titled as “The Anti-Islamic Activities of the Qadiani Group, Lahori Group and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance,” it essentially took away many religious rights and freedoms from Ahmadi Muslims. The resulting addition to the Pakistani penal code held all practising Ahmadi Muslims liable for punishment. The very act of adhan (call to prayer) was reason for three years’ imprisonment for an Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan. Leaders and scholars around the globe decried the deplorable state of affairs that had overtaken the country in a swift move of religious intolerance. The Khalifa’s own reaction was that of heightened concern not for his own safety, but for the threat imposed over the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Having critically appealed to General Zia in many of his sermons preceding the release of Ordinance XX, it was understood that the militant leader was not ready to see logic or hear reason. Thereafter, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) and his counsel unanimously agreed that it was time to leave Pakistan.
Throughout the entire period of his preparations for departure, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) did not show any concern for his personal well-being. In fact, he was adamant on the condition that at the time of his leaving, there should be no warrant for his arrest or call to court. He is reported to have said: “My departure in those circumstances would allow people to malign the Khilafat, perhaps not directly, but certainly by rumour. It would be said that I was guilty of some crime and that was why I had run away. That was my fear and I was not prepared to allow this to happen.”4 Indeed, the utter selflessness of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s(ru) intentions was rewarded in the details of his actual escape that followed. Despite heightened surveillance under five different security bodies under General Zia’s orders, and the delays and changes in flights, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) managed to leave Pakistan and flew directly to Holland with his family, and continued on to London. Months after the journey was completed, it was found that General Zia had put out an order at all air and seaports calling for the restriction of Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the previous head of the community, from leaving Pakistan. Intended to restrict Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru), the mistake of naming the third Khalifa proved to be a case of divine intervention for Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru). He later found out that he had escaped arrest by a mere twelve hours.
Upon his arrival in London, promptly at 8 a.m., the Imam of the London Mosque, Maulana Ataul Mujeeb Rashed remembers that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) asked what time Zuhr (mid-day prayer) was. After travelling in haste and secrecy on a journey that took over 8 hours, he arrived just in time for Zuhr prayer, and led congregational prayers for the first time as Khalifa in London. Jama’at members at the time remember how hoarse his voice was, as he was used to speaking loudly in mosques in Pakistan, where the use of loudspeakers was prohibited for Ahmadi Muslims.
Hadhrat Khalkifatul Masih IV(ru) launched a defence of the Ahmadiyya Muslim teachings and of the Promised Messiah(as) against the oft-repeated allegations of the opponents and published by Zia’s regime as a White Paper. Through a series of Friday Sermons and addresses at the Annual Gatherings in the UK, he dismissed each allegation with irrefutable evidence that left General Zia whose Intelligence provided him with the recording absolutely speechless.
Mubahilah – (prayer dual)
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s(ru) departure from Pakistan did not signal the end of his relations with General Zia. Having repeatedly called Zia to end his unjust tirade against Ahmadi Muslims, it was evident from the growing number of rumours coming from the Pakistani leadership regarding the Ahmadiyya Jama’at that the words of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) would not be heeded. On 3 June, 1988, the Khalifa cited the Qur’an Ch.3:V.62: “Say, ‘Come, let us call our sons and (you call) your sons and (let us call) our women and (you call) your women and (let us call) our people and (you call) your people, then let us pray fervently for the triumph of truth and invoke the curse of God on those who tell lies.” Following the precedent of the Holy Prophet(saw) himself in times of hardship when facing unrelent-ing enemies, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) issued a Mubahilah, or a prayer duel, against General Zia. A direct challenge to the general, the Mubahilah would only be resolved when either leader outlived the other in this world. In his statement, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) prayed: “Whichever of us in Thy sight are liars and fabricators, let Thy Wrath descend upon them within one year. May Thou inflict such disgrace, torment and punishment upon them that all people can witness their debasement and utter destruction.”5
The power of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s(ru) message caused an international stir, as copies of his sermon were made in multitudes and sent to various nations. Yet the persecutions in Pakistan did not abate, and General Zia took no notice that he had been warned. Though his statements and calls for the end to persecution were not heeded in the least, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) still sought no personal vengeance against General Zia, professing a love for Pakistan as a country with which the Jama’at had a very strong bond. However, not long after the Mubahilah had been issued, signs of its fulfilment were beginning to appear – not only with General Zia’s fate, but also with those who were actively pursuing his cause with him. Ashiq Hussain, a famed organiser of anti-Ahmadi mobs and stonings, was electrocuted within his own shop, and another opponent in Great Britain was to pass away in a fatal car accident. As for General Zia, a quick end awaited him. On 17 August, 1988, five minutes after being airborne in his presidential plane, he crashed to his death. The exact reasons for the failure of the plane remain unknown, but it was of significant interest that all that was left of General Zia after he was blown to ‘smithereens’ (The Sun, 18 August 1988) were his teeth. The message was clear for the world to see: the Mubahilah issued by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) had been resolved, and the wrongdoers had met their fate. Thus, with the end of General Zia’s eleven-year reign, the prophecy revealed to the Promise Messiah(as) was fulfilled: “Ba’ad gyarah, Insha Allah” (after eleven, if God wills).
While the move to London from Rabwah proved to be painful for Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) and he dearly missed his home, and as told by many of his close loved ones, the move to London proved to be beneficial in many ways. For Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) the move of part of the headquarters to London signalled the beginning of an era marked by much travel. Thereafter, he spent three months of every year on personal missionary efforts. In only six years, these efforts brought 300,000 people into the fold of Ahmadiyyat. Under his guidance, the Jama’at made unprecedented advances in other nations, as Ahmadi Muslims were encouraged in particular to reach out to their neighbours and provide aid. The Jama’at provided hospitals, equipment, and skilled professionals to various countries – all maintained out of the Jama’at’s funds. Scholarships were made available for talented youth who wished to pursue higher education. Many nations received Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) and honoured his presence, including Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mauritius, Fiji, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Canada and parts of South America. Setting him apart from other dignitaries of his stature was the fact that he was always available to talk to those who wanted to talk with him, whether it was the press, students, professionals, or field workers. An alderman in Canada spoke of his encounter with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) at an event: “To know him is to love and to want to know him better. To speak with him is to know more of life and living. I have never met anyone who has had such a great impact on what I am as a human being.”6
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) insisted on flying Economy Class rather than First or Second, as he believed that the Jama’at’s money should not be spent on unnecessary amenities. He did not feel comfortable spending money on himself that came from Ahmadi Muslims who gave in the spirit of sacrifice. The same rationale was used when it was suggested that he and his family move out of the small apartment at the London Mosque. While his style of living remained simple throughout his life and Khilafat, where security protocol was a concern he did eventually change his preferences.
Centenary celebration and Islamabad
During the remainder of his Khilafat in London, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) had many marked achievements. Of great significance in the earlier years of his Khilafat was the publishing of selected Qur’anic verses, Ahadith and excerpts of the writings of the Promised Messiah(as) in 100 languages as a gift of the first 100 years of Ahmadiyyat. One of the greatest events it saw was the centenary celebration of 1989, when great leaders from both the local and international communities were present to rejoice in the first hundred years of Ahmadiyyat. During this celebration in Islamabad, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) remembered the history of the Jama’at, and entrusted great hope in the future:
“It is likely that many will turn a sceptical ear to what I say, wondering at the certitude and firmness of my faith in the glorious future of Ahmadiyyat. The weak and oppressed proponents of Christianity, at the end of the first century of the Christian era, must have felt somewhat like as I feel today. They too were looked down upon, jeered and mocked at by the people of that age. Yet, I have no doubt whatsoever that a day will dawn before the end of the next century when people of that age will look back with no less an amazement at the incertitude and disbelief of the people of today.”7
As those who have witnessed the day to day life of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) can relate, he encompassed many great personal attributes. He was known for showing great humility and never being overzealous in his pride as Khalifa. Maulana Abdul Ghany Jahangeer Khan relates an incident in which Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) broke into Taslim (ending of the prayer) right at the beginning of the Maghrib prayer, turned around to the congregation behind and apologised – he asked for a few moments to perform ablution, which he had forgotten before prayers. Such an act of utter humility is rarely seen, and as a non-Ahmadi Arab Muslim in the congregation noted at the time: “Not a single Imam in the world would have admitted this to his followers. He would have continued to pray and kept silent out of pride. This Imam is truly a great man.”
Author of many books
Among Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru)’s many personal strengths was his role as a scholar. His experiences from all over the world coupled with his copious study of the Qur’an and other books made him a natural source of knowledge. As such, a great number of books in the Jama’at were published under his Khilafat. Of these, many were delivered as speeches and then formatted into books, many were written by him personally, and there were some that were published under his auspices.
He wrote on various subjects, ranging from religious doctrine to contemporary issues. His widely acclaimed books from this period include Christianity: A Journey from Facts to Fiction (1994), where the doctrinal development of Christianity is thoroughly studied; An Elementary Study of Islam (1996); Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues (1992s), compiled from a lecture covering international relations and spiritual, economic, and social peace; The Gulf Crisis and the New World Order (1992), a collection of sermons addressing the problem of the Gulf War and problems facing the Muslim world; and his philosophical treatise proving the existence of God, Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth (1998).
Among his other literary accomplishments was the publishing of Kalam-e-Tahir, a compilation of his Urdu prose and poetry written throughout his life. Containing reflective pieces influenced by incidents before and during his Khilafat, the poems contained in this book are a source of inspiration today and provide insight into the amazing life of a gifted man who led the Ahmadiyya community for nearly twenty-one years. During the end of his life, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) also oversaw the translation of his poems into English – a unique attribute of his Khilafat.
In Pursuit of Knowledge
Following on his forte of research, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) strongly urged the entire Jama’at to engage in study for the advancement of the community. Therefore, in 1992, he established the first UK based Research Teams and guided them closely to carry out research in specialised subjects in relation to the Holy Qur’an. Taking both Khuddam and Lajna members on board with this initiative, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) essentially put into action a framework that would last for much time to come. The Lajna Research Team in particular worked very closely with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) for a period of twelve years, compiling information that would be used in various avenues of the Jama’at’s divisions, including Dars-ul-Qur’an classes, and Friday sermons.
One of the most unique and striking features of the Khilafat of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) was his tradition of holding weekly Majlis-e-Irfan sessions at the mosque with the community, where he fielded questions asked by those who were present. From Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s(ru) research interests, it was clear that he had personal interest vested in a wide range of topics ranging from the principles of other religions, to history, philosophy, science, politics, and spirituality. Even then, the thoroughness and agility with which he answered questions in these evenings was a great source of amazement for all. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) often stated that he himself did not always know the answers to the questions posed, but rather, God instilled the answers in him to be relayed out to the community. Evenings such as these brought a sense of comfort and intimacy to the community present in London with their Khalifa. The introduction of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) later would extend this sense of tight community around the world, as question and answer sessions would be broadcast on satellite to people everywhere.
Muslim Television Ahmadiyya
The advent of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) in 1994 was groundbreaking – it not only touched the lives of Ahmadi Muslim families and communities, but also the lives of individuals in the world at large. Behind this scheme was the lasting inspiration and guidance of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru). Maulana Abdul Ghany Jahangeer Khan, former Amir of France whom Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) had called upon to work in the French section of MTA International, relates that no one in the Jama’at was prepared or had the knowledge for such a vast undertaking. Learning the semantics of satellite television was a day to day process. With the perseverance, leadership, and confidence in success from Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru), however, nothing seemed too daunting.
The evolution of MTA has been from a three-hour long session per-day broadcast interna-tionally, to the initiation of twenty-four hour running time in April of 1996, to the present addition of a second MTA channel available to UK residents and a recent third channel for American viewers. From the beginning when programmes would address all topics, MTA became more refined as its airtime was divided into several specialised programmes. All this took place under the blessed guidance of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru), and the rapid progress it has made in the fourteen years since its advent would not have been possible without him.
The integration of various nations and cultures into the folds of the Ahmadiyyat was accelerated by diverse cultural programming on MTA.
In particular, the growth and expansion of MTA captured an aspect of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s(ru) personality that he is well remembered for today: his love for children. Feeling the need to have an English programme devoted solely to the pursuit of educating and infusing the spirit of Islam within children, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) spent much time developing relationships with the children who came to his classes, which were broadcast on MTA. Many children endearingly remember the sweets and savoury snacks he brought in for them to eat in class – a treat for the children present in the class and a reason for audiences worldwide to salivate!
Incorporating Tilawat, Hadith, speeches on various educational topics and sports, these classes not only created a foundation for the culture of the Jama’at in which the children grew up, but they also instilled a deep love in the heart of the children worldwide for their Khalifa.
The Khalifa’s expertise in Homoeopathy
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s(ru) prowess in homoeopathy was also well known. Though he was sceptical of the usefulness of homoeopathy in his youth, he ascribed to it arduously in his adulthood and during his Khilafat. He had become so well trained in the discipline that it was said he was often able to tell which medicine an individual was in need of, just by looking at their face. One particular case of significance was the proscription of medicine for diabetes to Sir Chaudhry Zafrulla Khan. Stating that he had been a diabetic for 40 years, he was highly doubtful that any form of homoeopathy would aid him. As it turned out, the medicine that was given to him by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) was so effective, he used it for the last ten years of his life. Eventually, he came to lead a long lasting series of lectures on MTA regarding homoeopathy, where his true mastery of the subject was revealed to the world. Though he often professed such strong faith in homoeopathy in his sermons and interviews, he did not impose his beliefs in this regard on other Ahmadi Muslims. Rather, he discussed the need to implement homoeopathy dispensaries in various countries where access to allopathic medicines was difficult or costly. Thus, at his behest, three hundred well-equipped homeopathy dispensaries now exist in fifty-seven countries.
Humanity First – serving mankind
Battling the economic disparities of the impoverished in this world, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) was also keenly aware and sensitive to the suffering and plights of victims in war-torn and disaster stricken countries. During the Somalia crisis in 1992, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) made repeated references of his grief and remorse for the victims in the region. In the year following, he felt that the circumstances of global need had reached an all time high, and that the Jama’at was now in a position to actually do something pragmatic about it. For this reason, he approved the formation of ‘Humanity First’, an organisation that went on to become an international charity organisation that served the needs of thousands worldwide in various calamity struck regions and countries. From the very outset, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) served as the source of inspiration for Jama’at members to donate, and the majority of funds for the first few years of Humanity First’s existence were raised through direct public appeals. Humanity First was able to extend aid to Hungary, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Sierra Leone. Within Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s lifetime, fifteen countries were provided with humanitarian relief through the services of Humanity First.
The sense of global justice that was infused into large scale pursuits of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) was also reflected in his personal actions and interactions with a vast array of individuals who benefited from his kindness. One such interaction with Bosnian victims of the Balkan War is described by Maulana Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Imam of the London Mosque. Following their coerced exit and escape from their war torn country, a group of Bosnians who had come to England visited the London Mosque one winter and had the opportunity to meet with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru). As they sat in front of the Khalifa, their stories were told by the marks on their limbs and faces, and their clothes which were inadequate for the cold of winter. After giving the men words of courage and spiritual advice, he gifted them with envelopes of cash and blessed them with completely open-hearted aid. Following this, Ataul Mujeeb Rashed relates that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) went upstairs to his own chambers, and to the surprise and shock of those present, returned with his arms overflowing with clothes. He distributed these to the Bosnian visitors, and then ascended the stairs once again – this time returning with his grandson, granddaughter, and son-in-law, all to assist him in bringing down even more garments. The visitors donned the clothing right on the spot. For the first two months or so following this incident, it is remembered that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) wore the same coat every day. He had, in fact, given away his entire winter wardrobe for the benefit of his Bosnian visitors who had suffered so much and were left with less than himself. The very selflessness and altruistic nature of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) was proven by his interactions with the Bosnian visitors.
The arduous nature of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) was evident throughout his life and up until the very last days of his life. In 2002, when it was painfully clear to the entire world that his health was on the decline, he would not hear of desisting from his Jama’at duties – in particular, those of conducting Jalsa Salana. Though he was pressured by family and friends to take a lighter role, he shouldered his pain for the sake of Allah’s work. Throughout his persistent illness, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) attempted to maintain the same work ethic and regularity that he had throughout his Khilafat.
Born 18 December 1928, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) passed away as he rested after morning prayers service led by him on 19 April, 2003, the cause of death being Myocardial Infarction, coronary heart disease and was laid to rest in ‘Islamabad’ in specially consecrated grounds a few days later. On 9 July 2003, the coffin of his spouse who had been buried in Brookwood was exhumed and re-buried adjacent to his final resting place in ‘Islmabad,’ Tilford, Surrey.
In April 2003, mourners filled the streets around the London Mosque, as they grieved for the loss of their beloved Khalifa. The sheer number of approximately 20,000 who had gathered to mourn spoke greatly of the impact of Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed’s(ru) Khilafat. Setting new precedents for the Jama’at, and having seen the vast expansion of the Ahmadi world, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) would be remembered for a great deal of time to come not only in history, but within the lives of the multitudes of people he had touched. He was a man gifted by Allah.
1. Tahir Number: A Commemorative Edition of Tariq UK, by Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK, p.51
2 A Man of God, by Ian Adamson, p.120
3. Ibid, p.125
4. Ibid, p.143
5. Ibid, p.176
6. Ibid, p.193
7. Tahir Number: A Commemorative Edition of Tariq UK, by Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK, p.110