The Existence of God

THE EXISTENCE PROJECT: The Prayer of a Muslim, The Wisdom of a Caliph

Abid Khan, UK

This incident is reproduced with minor changes to terminology, from a larger memoir entitled ‘Memories With My Father’ on the Press Ahmadiyya website

‘In the late 1990s, a few years after my mother had passed away after a long illness, and after consulting with some family members, my father decided to remarry. There must have been some persuasive reasons for him to take this decision but when he informed me, I felt dejected and confused. Though I did not want him to remarry, I tried as best I could to cover up my feelings. I never once said to him that I did not want him to remarry but neither did I offer him my support. Very quickly, as far as I was concerned, things progressed until one day, when I was in London, my father called me from Hartlepool. He told me that Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, (rh) would lead the Nikah (Islamic Marriage Officiation) the following day, and so he was coming to London. At that moment, I did not know what to do or who to turn to. I knew there was nothing I could do now. All I could do was to turn towards Allah. Hence, for the first time in my life, I prayed all night until it was time for the morning prayer. I prayed and prayed that Allah the Almighty give me peace of mind and heart.

By the morning, I felt much better knowing that I had sought the Help of Allah with all my heart and soul. 

Later in the day, I went to Fazl Mosque for security duty and, at the afternoon prayer time, I was posted to stand a few metres from the Mosque entrance.

On his way back to his residence, after prayer was complete, his Holiness the Caliph saw me and greeted me with a beautiful and loving smile.

As he continued to smile, he asked:

‘Do you not think the decision I have made is a good one?

I did not understand what he meant. Recognising my confusion, his Holiness elaborated:

‘I have sent a message to your father that he should not get remarried, so the Nikah is no longer taking place! Now tell me, do you think it is a good decision or not?

I was completely stunned and astonished. I had not dared to share my doubts or concerns with a single person. I had turned only to Allah the Almighty and somehow, at the very last moment, his Holiness had intervened and withdrawn his permission for my father’s remarriage.

Still in shock, I remember saying:

‘Huzoor, you have made the best decision!

After his Holiness the Caliph had returned to his residence, I rushed back to where I was staying and called my father to confirm if he had received the message. He had, yet there wasn´t a trace of regret or sadness in his voice. Even though he had expected to have his Nikah later that day, without a second’s thought he cancelled all plans and never again considered remarrying.

The wisdom in the late Caliph´s decision soon came to light. A few weeks later, my father’s ill health returned and this time, it would ultimately lead to his passing, less than a year later. I can only imagine the problems or complications that may have ensued if the marriage had gone ahead. It was an incident that had a profound impact upon my life and my faith. Though I had always believed in God, that experience made me truly recognise how God Almighty is forever ready to listen to us if we supplicate to Him sincerely with all our heart. It showed me how, as Ahmadi Muslims, we are immensely fortunate to have Khilafat, whereby our spiritual leader is he who is guided and inspired by Allah the Almighty at all times. 

A few days later, I spoke to my father about what had transpired. It was then I realised that he had assumed that I had approached His Holiness myself or through an intermediary to express my concerns prior to the Nikah. I informed him that I had neither approached His Holiness and nor had I conveyed my fears through any human intermediary. Rather, all that was in my heart I had expressed to God Almighty in that night of prayer. I remember vividly how my father smiled and seemed pleased and content. Alhamdulillah.  

In the years that followed, I sometimes used to wonder what happened to the lady who was set to marry my father. I used to pray occasionally that she had a happy life. In 2013, when I had the honour of travelling with Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), the present Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to Australia, I met an Ahmadi man who had migrated from Pakistan. As we spoke, he became aware of my family background and who my father was. It was then that he told me it was his sister who my father had been close to marrying. It was certainly a strange and confounding moment for me. I settled myself enough to ask how she was, and I was pleased to hear that she was now happily married with children and well settled.’

About the Author: Abid Khan is the International Press Secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.