Furhan Ahmad Hamza Qureshi, Canada & Rizwan Khan, USA
Note: Some narrations have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
On 8 March 2022, Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir, Founding Principal of Jamia Ahmadiyya (Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology) Canada, passed away at the age of 87. He was a man of extraordinary qualities who left a lasting mark on everyone who was fortunate to have met him. An orator par excellence, his speeches would leave audiences spellbound and inspired. A humble man—yet noble and graceful in his words and deeds—Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir has left behind a high moral legacy for all Ahmadis in general, and particularly life-devotees, to emulate.
In his Friday Sermon dated March 18, 2022, His Holiness, the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) recounted his numerous qualities and stated that, ‘He was extremely selfless, had complete trust in Allah, was devoted to prayer and was content within his means. He possessed all the attributes of a dervish. Whenever I saw him, it seemed as though a truly saintly person was present before me.’
Below, we are honoured to present some faith-inspiring narrations highlighting various aspects of his character.
His Trust in Allah
In regard to Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir’s trust in Allah the Almighty, His Holiness the Fifth Caliph (aba) stated:
‘His children have also shared their experiences; all have mostly written that their father had firm faith in Allah the Almighty and in the Hereafter. He had firm conviction in Khilafat [Caliphate] and the Nizam [system] of the Community. He had a great deal of trust in Allah the Almighty. He often said that Allah the Almighty would never forsake him and would always come to his aid, and this truly was the manner in which Allah the Almighty treated him … His younger daughter writes about an incident:
‘Once in Sierra Leone, while a mosque was being built and the workers sought their wages, my father did not have the sufficient funds to pay them. Hence, Maulana Mubarak Nazir told them that they should return the next day and he would give them their wages. The next morning when Mubarak Nazir came out of his home, he found the workers standing there waiting while the money had not yet been arranged. He told the workers that he still did not have the money, but he was praying and they should wait a little while longer and insha’Allah [God-willing], Allah the Almighty would swiftly provide the means. Meanwhile, a car came racing towards him and he was given an envelope with money in it. He was told that a person had heard that he was building a mosque and so he sent some money for him. Before my father could ask who had sent the money, the car quickly raced away after giving the envelope. He was convinced that Allah the Almighty had heard his prayer and he used the money to pay the workers.’
Asif Khan Mujahid, an Imam stationed in Canada, writes:
‘Before his retirement, Maulana Mubarak Nazir was my neighbour in Peace Village (Canada). One night I was walking home, when I saw from a distance that Maulana Mubarak Nazir was standing by the rear door of his car. At that time, his back was to me. When I approached, I saw that there were some home supplies in the car. I knew that, since he was old, it was very difficult for him to repeatedly walk from the car and up the stairs to his home. I intended to help him, and when I said Salam (Islamic greeting of peace) from behind him, I noticed that he was not looking into the car, he was looking down and praying, as if he was saying to God Almighty, ‘O Allah, send some help.’ Receiving my Salam, Maulana Mubarak Nazir turned slightly towards me and returned my Salam, and without looking at me, he said, ‘Take it to the door of the house.’ Hearing this, my hair stood on edge. He said it which such trust, as if he knew that his prayer would be accepted, and that Allah would send help. I am a witness to the fact that whenever he was in need of help he would immediately pray, and from somewhere a helper would ‘coincidentally’ arrive.’
Deep Connection with Allah
Maulana Abdul Rashid Anwar Sahib, Missionary In-Charge Canada, wrote:
‘Connection with Allah was his favorite topic. When he would be speaking, it would feel as if he has himself walked on the paths of connection with Allah. It was as if he was advising people on the basis of his personal experiences, as if he were saying that this path is filled with great pleasure, and I am inviting you to it.
I had the good fortune of serving as a member of the Jamia Ahmadiyya Viva Board under Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir. After an introduction to the family of the student, his first question would be to ask the student to relate a true dream if they had seen one. When the student would relate a dream, his eyes would be filled with an indescribable spark and happiness. After the student left, he would say that his having a connection with Allah is sufficient for him to pass. From this, we can see that for him, connection with Allah was the most important qualification for a missionary.’
Naveed Mangla, President and Missionary In-Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Belize, who was one of his students in the first class of Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada, stated:
‘We would not just hear about his certainty and faith in the being of God Almighty in his speeches, rather, we would see it in his being. His greatest favour on us is that, to his last moment, his effort was to attach our hearts to God Almighty. Throughout Jamia, and as Missionary In-Charge, his effort was that we should have a firm connection with God Almighty.
Once, he called us and said, ‘The real purpose of Jamia is that, in these seven years, you develop a very deep connection with God Almighty, as if you have seen him, so that after Jamia, you can tell people about that God Who you have yourselves seen and experienced.’
He had a very deep connection with God Almighty. Many times, we sensed that God Almighty accepts the prayers of Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir and guides him. When our first class of Jamia had finished our Shahid [final year] exams and our thesis, the results were sent to His Holiness (aba). Because of this, we were very nervous as to what would become of us. On this, one evening, Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir met us and told us, ‘Don’t worry, God Almighty told me that most of you will pass.’ He told us that he saw in a dream that we are running in a race and many of us have reached the finishing line in that race.’
Another one of his students from Jamia (Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology), Zahid Abid Sahib, Imam in Calgary, Canada, writes:
‘Respected Maulana Mubarak Nazir had many good qualities, of which two were very distinct. First, he had full trust in the being of God Almighty. Second, he had limitless love for Khilafat (Caliphate). I have the honor of being part of the first class of Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada and I had the honor of being one of his students. As a principal, it was his effort that all students become Godly people and that they establish a personal relationship with God. Once, during an exam when a student was not writing anything, he went and asked him what was wrong. The student said, ‘I am waiting for inspiration.’ Hearing an answer like this, people generally think it is a joke and laugh, but he expressed great happiness that his student had certainty in the being of God and knows that God is All-Powerful and can do anything.’
Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir’s sons related that:
‘Just a few hours before the demise of our father, we were massaging his hands on both sides of the bed – He said to let go of his hands so that he can say prayers. He also said with eyes wide open, and looking firmly at us, that his time has come, and that ‘I am not afraid of death – I have firm faith that my Allah will forgive my shortcomings.’’
Farhan Iqbal Sahib, an Imam in Ottawa, Canada, who was a student of his in Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada, related:
‘He would often say, ‘When we are born, we are crying and everyone else is laughing. But when we die, we should be the ones laughing while everyone else is crying.’ Expounding on this, he would say that this could only be the case if we fulfill the requirements of our Waqf (life-devotion) and abide by the principles of taqwa (righteousness). He would also often recall the [Punjabi] revelation of the Promised Messiah:
جے تو میرا ہو رہیں سب جگ تیرا ہو
‘If you will be devoted to Me, the whole world will be yours.‘
He would then remind us that by devoting our lives, we must establish a connection with Allah the Almighty. If we are able to develop that connection, then we will have no worry in the world.’
Love for the Holy Prophet (sa)
Aizaz Khan, an Imam in Peace Village, Canada, mentions that in an interview taken for MTA, Maulana Mubarak Nazir related the following faith-inspiring incident which highlights the blessings of memorizing the Qaseedah (ode) Ya Ayna Faydhillahi wal irfani, written by the Promised Messiah (as) in praise of the Holy Prophet (sa). Maulana Mubarak Nazir related:
‘I had to sit in my BSc examination and was very weak in chemistry. I couldn’t remember so many formulas, especially in organic chemistry. I went to Maulvi Sahib [Hazrat Maulawi Ghulam Rasul Sahib Rajeki (ra) – a Companion of the Promised Messiah (as)] and said, ‘Maulvi Sahib, my memory is fading.’ He said, ‘Memory fading? Learn Qaseedah – Ya Ayna Faydhillahi wal Irfani.’ (The examination was about a month or two away.) He said, ‘Learn the Qaseedah; it will improve your memory and you will have the love of the Holy Prophet (sa) hammered into your bosom, nailed into you.’ So, young as I was, I went and put my books aside and started learning Qaseedah. Wherever I went, [I would recite] Ya Ayna Faydhillahi wal Irfani, Yas’aa Ilaikal Khalqu kazzam’aani [O (you who are) the Fountain of Allah’s munificence and perfect understanding of Allah, people rush towards you thirstily.] My mother said, ‘Mubarak, the examination is at hand, instead of your chemistry book, [which is] over there somewhere, you are now learning Qaseedah …’ She said, ‘I’m worried about you.’ I said, ‘No, no, Maulvi Sahib said, [that I should] learn Qaseedah.’ Somehow, I memorized all the 70 verses. Two things happened. My memory increased … and I had a love of the Holy Prophet (sa). It increased my memory and I passed the examination with flying colours.’
Asif Khan Mujahid related:
‘Once he advised me that, “To increase connection with God, one should place great emphasis on Durood [invoking blessings on the Holy Prophet (sa)]. Never let go of Durood, it is the key to spirituality.”’
Acceptance of Prayer
Aizaz Khan narrates an incident of Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir’s acceptance of prayer:
‘Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir used to say that when he was in fourth grade, his father was coming back from Africa and he was not passing in his classes. He became worried as to how he would present himself before his father when he returned. He went into a room and began praying profusely to Allah to grant him success in his schooling. Miraculously, he passed and this showed him that there is a God Who listens to prayers.’
Aizaz Khan relates another remarkable incident in which Allah the Almighty helped Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir at a time of need:
‘He mentioned an incident about how once he was driving in Africa and taking the salary of his teachers, which was a substantial amount of money. It so happened that one of the tires got punctured. His car was on a slope so it couldn’t be raised, and there was no stone around that he could place under the wheel to hold the car in place. It was getting late. The car had no lights, and he didn’t know what to do. He suddenly saw in the distance that a man was coming towards him, carrying a big stone on his head. Maulana Sahib says that the custom was to ask him for the stone so he could use it, but he didn’t even ask him. ‘I was so sure that it was an angel who brought this that I did not even ask him. As he came near, I took the stone from his head and put it at the back of the car. He sat down quietly. He did not say a single word. I put on the tire and did everything that needed to be done. He took the stone, put it on his head and off he went. I also went the other way. Sometimes you see these miracles. Who says there’s no God?’’
Compassion for Humanity
It was due to Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir’s love for and connection with Allah the Almighty that he was extraordinarily compassionate towards Allah’s creation.
His granddaughter, Aansa Mirza narrates,
‘Sometimes we would see our Nana Jaan [maternal grandfather] sobbing and we would notice that he was seeing an ad on the TV, which was showing needy children. Suffering would always move him to tears and prayers.’
One of Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir’s students, Tariq Azeem Sahib, President and Missionary In-Charge Jamaica, related an incident of his compassion and pain for others. He states:
‘Once, when my nephew passed away in childhood, I mentioned this to Maulana Mubarak Nazir and requested prayers for my sister. As soon as he heard this, tears started streaming down his eyes and he began weeping out of grief. Even I had not cried as much at my nephew’s passing. Perplexed, I asked him, ‘How can I develop such compassion for others in my heart? I can never cry at someone else’s grief.’ At this, he replied, ‘Pray to Allah the Almighty that he instills the love of humanity in your heart.’ After this incident, he called my elder sister and expressed his condolences.’
Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir’s life is a testament to the power of faith in God. Whenever he was in need, he would always turn to God for help and in return, was never left empty handed. He urged all his students to do the same—to submit their helplessness before God and see how God would turn things around in their favour. Once, at a particular instance, when his students had not performed well during exams and were naturally feeling quite hopeless, he gathered everyone in the assembly hall and reminded them of the Omnipotence of God Almighty. Stirring up deep love and trust in God, he passionately urged students to hold fast to the Divine threshold and witness miracles of the acceptance of prayer. He quoted the Promised Messiah’s (as) Urdu couplet:
دل نکل جاتا ہے قابو سے یہ مشکل سوچ کر
اے مری جاں کی پنہ فوجِ ملائک کو اتار
‘I lose control over my heart when I contemplate this arduous task;
O, the Refuge of my life! Send down the army of angels.’
(Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 5, Eng. Trans., p. 214)
The extraordinary tranquility and contentment that was felt by students upon hearing these words of encouragement cannot be expressed in words. Nevertheless, suffice it to say that as he was speaking out of his own conviction and trust in God, his words were etched onto our hearts, and we learned that nothing is impossible and that the key to all success is prayer.
Summarizing Maulana Mubarak Ahmad Nazir’s qualities, His Holiness the Fifth Caliph (aba) said,
‘He certainly was a scholar who practiced what he preached, which is why his speeches were so impactful, yet he was extremely humble before Khilafat. May Allah Almighty elevate his station, enable his progeny to follow in his footsteps, accept his prayers in their favour, and may Allah the Almighty continue to bestow the community with such people who render selfless service. Those missionaries who have graduated from Jamia Canada have especially written many incidents of how he trained them, taught them how to do tabligh [preach], taught them morals and taught them the faith. These missionaries were able to benefit a great deal from him. They should bear in mind that these incidents are not simply for the sake of remembering or recalling them; rather, these missionaries should practically implement these examples. May Allah the Almighty enable them to do so.’
About the Authors:
Furhan Qureshi is an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and graduate from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada. He currently serves is a Professor at Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology Canada, Assistant Editor for the Canadian Ahmadiyya Gazette, and appears on various programmes of MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya). He is also a member of the Existence Project team.
Rizwan Khan is an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and graduate from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Langauges and Theology in Canada.He was assigned in 2013 to serve as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States. He has been serving in Houston since 2017.