After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that recently, a very dear life-devotee, Syed Taalay Ahmad was martyred in Ghana, Africa.
His Holiness (aba) said that on the night between the 23rd and 24th of August, the MTA team which was filming a documentary was travelling when they were attacked by robbers who fired at them, injuring two people, Umar Farooq and Syed Taalay Ahmad. On the way to the hospital, Syed Taalay Ahmad passed away. His Holiness (aba) said that although there may have been previous martyrdoms of workers in MTA International from other parts of the world, but this was the first from the UK. His Holiness (aba) also said that perhaps, this was the first martyrdom from Waqfe Nau UK. His Holiness (aba) also requested prayers for Umar Farooq who was injured during the incident and is still recovering.
His Holiness (aba) said that he was the great grandson of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) and Mir Muhammad Ismail (ra). In this way, he was related to both the Promised Messiah (as) as well as his wife Hazrat Nusrat Jahan Begum Sahiba. He was also the son-in-law of Ghulam Qadir Shaheed.
Syed Taalay Ahmad’s Services to the Ahmadiyya Community
His Holiness (aba) said that Syed Taalay Ahmad had been active in serving the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association UK in various capacities, both in Majlis Atfalul Ahmadiyya and Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. He also served the Community in his local chapter of Hartlepool, UK. He was appointed to the MTA News team full-time in 2016, before which he served The Review of Religions as head of the indexing and tagging department. He had the opportunity of making various documentaries for MTA. He was also the one to initiate the very popular This Week With Huzoor programme which features on MTA.
Incident Leading to His Martyrdom
His Holiness (aba) said that Syed Taalay Ahmad was very passionate about his work and seeing it through, no matter the hardships he may have to face along the way. His main focus was always to ensure that the work was carried out. This was evident from the incident of his martyrdom, as he began his journey at a time when there was increased danger. His Holiness (aba) said that as Syed Taalay Ahmad was setting out for his journey, he was worried about the video files that he had recorded and wanted to ensure that the files would not be corrupted, thus he began working on his laptop while on the journey.
His Holiness (aba) detailed the incidents leading up to the martyrdom of Syed Taalay Ahmad. Robbers had begun firing at the vehicle after which they approached the vehicle and took whatever valuables they had. Syed Taalay Ahmad had been struck in the back and lost a great deal of blood. As the robbery was happening, he quickly hid the laptop and other equipment under the seats so that the robbers would not be able to find it. As they were driving to a nearby clinic, Syed Taalay Ahmad would ask whether His Holiness (aba) had been informed about this incident. From the clinic, it was decided that he would need to be taken to a hospital. Along the way, he said, ‘Tell Huzoor that I love him and tell my family that I love them.’
A Diamond Which Has Departed Us
His Holiness (aba) said that this was a beautiful diamond which has left us. This loss has shaken everyone. He understood his oath of life-devotion and fulfilled it to the utmost degree. His Holiness (aba) said that Syed Taalay Ahmad always surprised him, and he would wonder how a youngster who had been raised amidst a worldly environment was able to understand and fulfil his pledge of devotion. His level of love and devotion for Khilafat was such that even some who have deep-rooted knowledge of faith do not possess it. His devotion to Khilafat was such that even in his last moments, he was constantly expressing his love for Khilafat.
His Holiness (aba) said that a few years ago, Syed Taalay Ahmad wrote a poem in which he expressed his love for Khilafat. He started the poem by saying that he loved His Holiness (aba) the most, and he ended by saying that perhaps His Holiness (aba) would never know how much he loved him. His Holiness (aba) said that even before Syed Taalay Ahmad’s last words, he knew – he knew how much Syed Taalay Ahmad loved him when he was filming with his camera, and even when he met him without his camera. He could tell from the sparkle in his eyes and the light on his face, indeed from his every action, His Holiness (aba) was aware of the love that Syed Taalay Ahmad had for him.
His Abounding Love for Khilafat
His Holiness (aba) said that from among the youth of the Promised Messiah’s (as) family, there was no one who loved Khilafat as much as Syed Taalay Ahmad, in fact there are few elders even who love Khilafat as much as him. He would try to hide his love, but in one way or another, Allah Almighty would make that love manifest. He would be concerned with how he could inform the world about Khilafat, and how he could best serve, even to the point of having to sacrifice his life.
His Holiness (aba) said that at the time of the burial of the Fourth Caliph (rh), as he was standing by the grave before the burial commenced, a young Syed Taalay Ahmad came and stood beside him. At the time, His Holiness (aba) did not know who he was, but now seeing the picture, he realises that even at that time, it was as if he was pledging to always be of service to Khilafat.
Extraordinary Obedience to the Khalifa of the Time
His Holiness (aba) said that he himself bears testament to the fact that Syed Taalay Ahmad fulfilled his oath of life-devotion. His Holiness (aba) said that once in a meeting, he told missionaries to offer Tahajjud (pre-dawn voluntary prayers) for at least one hour a day. Even though he was not a missionary, Syed Taalay Ahmad knew he was a life-devotee, and so he too did his best to implement this instruction. At times he would appear tired during the day, as he had woken up early to try and fulfil this instruction of His Holiness (aba) which was not even directly addressed to him. Yet, this was the level to which he fulfilled his oath of life-devotion.
His Holiness (aba) addressed members of the Promised Messiah’s (as) family to learn from the example of Syed Taalay Ahmad, and increase in their devotion. There is no honour in being from the progeny of a revered person, unless one’s own actions are worthy of honour.
Testimony of Syed Taalay Ahmad’s Excellent Qualities
HIs Holiness (aba) said that many people have been writing to him about his excellent qualities, which shed even more light on his level of devotion. His Holiness (aba) said that it was only right for him to share some of the sentiments which he has received.
His Holiness (aba) shared the sentiments of Amer Safir, the Editor for The Review of Religions, who said that Syed Taalay Ahmad was head of the indexing and tagging team which worked to organise almost a 100-year’s worth of material from The Review of Religions, which was a great task. Everything that he did revolved around Khilafat. If ever he heard some instruction from His Holiness (aba) for him, his eyes would light up like a child seeing candy. His standard of work was amazing, as there were times when he would be working on two documentaries at the same time.
His Holiness (aba) stated that Abdul Quddoos Arif, Sadr Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK, said that a young age Taalay Ahmad had been reading the Five-Volume Commentary of the Holy Qur’an in great detail, leaving notes and highlights throughout, and he completed the entire commentary within a few days. He said that whenever he would praise Taalay Ahmad for any documentary he worked on, his response would always be to ask for prayers, and that it was all due to the grace of Allah Almighty.
His Holiness (aba) said that once someone raised an objection on social media to the title of one of his documentaries, to which he responded. He said that he only defended the title because it had been approved by His Holiness (aba). Had the title been from himself or anyone else, he would have remained silent.
His Holiness (aba) shared the sentiments of his wife Satwat Sahiba, who said that Syed Taalay was very kind, caring and loving. He was always very appreciative and supportive, even when she would be worried due to the martyrdom of her own father. She noticed his love for the Promised Messiah (as) very early on in their relationship. He would relate stories about the Holy Prophet (sa) to his son, and would himself weep. Whenever they had a family meeting with His Holiness (aba), he would treat his son for behaving well. His Holiness (aba) said that even seemingly small things indicate the level of a person’s sincerity and devotion. If ever he even sensed that His Holiness (aba) was not pleased with him (His Holiness (aba) commented that he did not recall any instance when that would have been the case) then he would pray profusely in Tahajjud. Whenever he received any gift he would always be grateful. He always trusted in Allah to always fulfil his needs, and in fact, on various occasions, in one way or another, his needs would be fulfilled and God would provide for him in some way. He was very kind, forgiving, and never held any enmity towards anyone.
His Holiness (aba) shared the sentiments of Syed Taalay Ahmad’s father Syed Hashim Akbar. He said that he had seen a dream about his own martyrdom and later learned that his son Syed Taalay Ahmad had seen the same dream about the martyrdom of his father. However he must have prayed that he should be martyred instead of his father. Seeing his excellent qualities, God Almihgty accepted his prayer and bestowed upon him the rank of martyrdom. His soul was devoted to the Holy Prophet (sa), and he lived and breathed for the sake of Khilafat. Syed Taalay Ahmad’s mother Amatul Shakoor said that he was inclined towards religion from a young age. He was very good at his studies and would obtain good grades.
His Holiness (aba) related that Syed Taalay Ahmad’s sister Nudrat Sahiba said that he would often return home late from his work. He would often watch various programmes and documentaries in order to improve his own documentary-making skills. He often studied Ahadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa)) and became quite well-versed. He would often be able to quote Qur’anic verses on a given matter, and he had also studied Arabic and learned Arabic grammar. Nudrat Sahiba also shared two dreams which seem to have been indicative of his martyrdom.
His Holiness (aba) shared the sentiments of Syed Taalay Ahmad’s youngest sister who said that he was an excellent role model and she was able to learn a great deal from him. He told her that on the way to and from work, he would listen to lessons on the Holy Qur’an given by the Fourth Caliph (rh). He taught her that even whilst joking, one should not make fun of any religion.
His Holiness (aba) shared the sentiments of Abid Khan, Press Secretary of the Ahmadiyya Community who was also Syed Taalay Ahmad’s maternal uncle. He said that Syed Taalay Ahmad possessed a profound love for the Promised Messiah (as), Though he was extremely proud to be from the progeny of the Promised Messiah (as), he never openly shared this fact nor did he ever use it to receive any sort of favourable treatment. Before departing for his trip to Africa which had been according to the instructions of His Holiness (aba), he made a detailed schedule of his daily work. He said that if ever he learned that the instruction of His Holiness (aba) was even slightly different from his own opinion, he would accept it wholeheartedly. . He said that Syed Taalay Ahmad made it his mission to make MTA News a strong department within MTA, and through determination and hard work, he was able to achieve this.
His Holiness (aba) said that one aspect which Adam Walker noticed in Syed Taalay Ahmad was that he worked very meticulously and would always think of new ways to convey the message of the Promised Messiah (as). He said that he was always truthful and straightforward in everything he said.
His Holiness (aba) then said that Naseem Bajwa mentioned that whilst he was the missionary in Bradford, he noticed the young Syed Taalay Ahmad to always be obedient, respectful to his elders, responsible, always be busy in the remembrance of God, and passionate about preaching the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat.
His Holiness (aba) then presented the sentiments of Nosherwan Rasheed, a missionary and colleague of Taalay Ahmad. He said that over the last three years, Syed Taalay Ahmad was like a brother to him, he was regular in offering prayers, fasting and giving alms.
His Holiness (aba) said that Syed Taalay Ahmad fulfilled his due in being the spiritual and physical progeny of the Holy Prophet (sa) as well as the Promised Messiah (as). His Holiness (aba) said that thus, it is fitting that Allah Almighty chose the (Islamic) month of Muharram for Syed Taalay Ahmad to be able to present this sacrifice.
His Holiness (aba) prayed that may Allah Almighty continue to elevate the station of Syed Taalay Ahmad. Surely, he would have been given a place in Paradise near the Holy Prophet (sa). In fact, someone saw a dream that he was running towards the Holy Prophet (sa) who was welcoming him. His Holiness (aba) also prayed that his family may be able to bear this loss with patience. His Holiness (aba) said that after the Friday prayer, he would lead the funeral prayer of Syed Taalay Ahmad.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions