The Existence of God in the Life of the First Caliph, Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra)

Tariq Mahmood, Canada

One of the most curious proofs for the Existence of a Higher Power is when dazzling displays of support accompany one who devotes himself to God. The story of Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra), the First Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, shines brightly as one of them. His life was a testament to the existence of God. 

From a young age, his connection with Allah the Almighty was deep and profound. As he travelled great distances as a student of Islamic knowledge, his connection with God increased exponentially as well. All the while, God accepted his prayers in marvellous ways, time after time. These miracles began during his early years.

For instance, once he was in Lucknow, India, during his studies and had found lodging there, however, he did not know how to cook. He tried to make roti, and though he was successful in making it round, it kept sticking to the pan. As a result, he could not flip the roti.  

Seeing this, he prayed to Allah the Almighty: ‘O Allah, I am not good at cooking, and due to this, the food will be wasted. How can I learn to make roti?‘ Soon after this prayer, he received a message from his teacher which read, ‘From now on, you should eat food from our house‘. After this, as long as he remained in Lucknow, his food was arranged from the house of his teacher. [1] 

This incident reflects how he spent his youth: reliant upon God for help, knowing that God would indeed help His servant.

Hazrat Muhammad Zafarulla Khan (ra), author of a biography of Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra), narrates another beautiful incident from his youth in which God Almighty profoundly accepted his prayer:

‘In those days he was eager to read Ibn Khaldun’s book on History. A bookseller offered it to him for seventy rupees. He told him he could not pay him the total amount in cash, but would pay him in instalments. The bookseller did not agree. The same afternoon when he came to his clinic he found the book on his desk. 

His enquiries could not elicit how the book had found its way to him. One day a patient told him that he had noticed that a Sikh had put it on his desk. He said he did not know his name, but could identify him. Some days later he brought the Sikh to him, who explained that having heard of the incident with the bookseller, he had immediately purchased the book from him and had placed it on his desk. He added that he was reimbursed by his employer who had given him instructions to provide, at his expense, whatever Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) might need.’ [2]

These incidents reflect the deep connection he had with God the Almighty. He would often have his prayers accepted in beautiful ways far beyond his own ability or power. These acceptances demonstrated a Living God who is ever ready to accept the supplications of the supplicant.

His devotion was such that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) frequently visited him in dreams, demonstrating God’s existence and helping to guide him. Hazrat Muhammad Zafarulla Khan (ra) writes:

‘Once Maulvi Nabi Bakhsh Chishti of Jampur (India) lived in the quarter next to that of Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) … Shortly after Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) saw the Holy Prophet (sa) in a dream, who said to him: ‘You are bidden to eat in my house, but I am very anxious about Nabi Bakhsh.’ Maulvi Sahib kept on the lookout for Nabi Bakhsh for a long period, but he did not visit his quarter. When he did encounter him at last he enquired from him whether he was in some difficulty, and offered him some money. He confessed that he had passed through a time of great hardship but had just found some work and earned a small amount, which had afforded him relief, so that he was no longer in need.’ [3]

This is the spiritual excellence of Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) prior to his introduction to the Promised Messiah (as). Slowly but surely, it dawned on Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) that no effort was being made by the scholars of Islam to rebut the arguments of Christianity and Hinduism. Thus, he himself went in search of such a man, which led him to the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (as). After his acceptance of the Promised Messiah (as) his connection with God reached new heights. An example of God’s help after accepting Ahmadiyyat is narrated:

‘A Hindu shopkeeper had always kept urging him to set aside a portion of his income against the inevitable rainy day; but he told him that would be inconsistent with his complete trust in God and that God would always provide for his needs. On the day he received notice of dismissal the shopkeeper came to him and enquired: ‘Maulvi Sahib (ra), do you now recall my advice to you?

He told him that he scorned his advice as much as ever. While the shopkeeper was still in converse with him, a messenger from the State Treasury brought him a letter from the Treasury enclosing the sum of four hundred and eighty rupees as his salary for the days of his service in the month. 

This upset the shopkeeper as crass folly on the part of the Treasury officials. He had not yet recovered his equanimity when an emissary of a Rani came with a large sum of money sent by the Rani, with an apology that at the moment she could not lay her hands on a larger amount. This confounded the shopkeeper altogether. 

To cover his confusion he muttered: ‘This is all very well, but you owe nearly two hundred thousand rupees to a creditor and he is not likely to let you depart without your making such arrangements as he should consider satisfactory for the discharge of your debt.

Just then an agent of the creditor arrived and with folded hands submitted most respectfully: ‘I have received instructions from my master to make all arrangements about your departure and the despatch of all your baggage, and to advance to you in cash whatever amount you may desire.‘ Maulvi Sahib asked him to convey his thanks to his master, and added: ‘I have received more than I need from the Treasury and from another source, and I shall take all my baggage with me.

The shopkeeper stood up, shook his head and remarked: ‘It seems there is favouritism with God also. We have to work hard from morning to evening to earn a few rupees, and here is this fool of a creditor who, instead of demanding the repayment of his loan, is ready to advance more.‘ Maulvi Sahib rejoined: ‘Allah is aware of the hearts of His creatures. I shall, Insha’Allah, repay this loan in a short while. These matters are beyond your ken.

About a year after he had settled at Qadian, a man came from Jammu and presented to Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) one hundred and ninety-five thousand rupees in cash. That was the exact amount that he owed to his creditor. He enquired why the money was being presented to him. The man explained that the Maharaja had laid down the previous year that the contract in respect of the forests of the State would be subject to the condition that the contractor would pay one half of his net profit to Maulvi Nooruddin (ra). Tenders were made on that basis and the contract was assigned to him, and he had brought one half of the net profit to be handed over to Maulvi Nooruddin (ra). The latter directed him to take the money back to Jammu and pay it over to his creditor.’ [4]

Incidents such as these solidify the fact that Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) had a Provider, who in this instance provided for his travel and luggage, the extension of his debt, the humiliation of a denier of God’s grace, and ultimately the repayment of the debt itself!

Throughout his Khilafat, Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) saw such acceptance of prayer that is indicative of one who is wholly immersed in love for God.

Hazrat Muhammad Ghulam B.A (ra) narrates an incident:

‘Once, in the rainy season of 1909, it rained for eight days straight, due to which many houses in Qadian collapsed. The villa that the late Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan (ra) constructed outside Qadian also fell. On the eighth or ninth day after the Zuhr prayer, The First Khalifa (ra) stated ‘I will pray. All of you: say Ameen.‘ After praying, he said ‘Today, I have offered such a prayer that the Holy Prophet (sa) himself only offered once in his life.‘ During the Zuhr prayer it was raining heavily. Soon after, the rain stopped in Qadian, and by Asr time the sky was clear and the sun was out.’

This trust in God was so strong that Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) would often remark, ‘God’s Promise with me is such that if I were in a deserted jungle, even then God the Almighty would bestow provision on me, and I would never go hungry.

This proved true countless times. On one occasion, the Promised Messiah (as) called Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) and Hazrat Ya’qub Ali Irfani (ra) to come to Gurdaspur, India. They first departed to a guest house in Batala, India, where they arrived around 6 p.m. in the afternoon. Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) settled down on a cot and started reading books. Just then a man arrived and said, ‘I have heard that Maulvi Nooruddin is staying here, where is he?‘ After Hazrat Ya’qub Ali Irfani (ra) pointed to the cot, the man addressed Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) saying, ‘Huzoor! I have one request. Please accept my invitation for food this evening.‘ He then informed them that he works at the railway and he must depart for Amritsar, but his employee will send food to them, to which Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) agreed. Later that evening, a feast was brought to them. Hazrat Ya’qub Ali Irfani (ra) says that he was shocked at the fulfilment of Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin’s (ra) words in this town filled with strangers. 

They then departed for the 10 p.m. train with their bedding and belongings. At the station, Hazrat Ya’qub Ali Irfani (ra) opened the bedding of Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) so that he may rest. He says: 

‘When I opened his bedding, Allah is my witness that within it, there were two Parathas along with some Qeema (seasoned ground meat) wrapped within some packaging. I was incredibly shocked and thought ‘O brother! We ate that food just now, and now this is more food given by Allah’, because we had no knowledge that this food was there.’

Hazrat Ya’qub Ali Irfani (ra) addressed Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) and said, ‘Huzoor, when we departed from Qadian suddenly, I thought to myself that today we will see where Maulvi Sahib eats from, on account of our sudden departure. So first you were invited to dinner, and now two Parathas have come out of your bedding.

He replied, ‘Sheikh Sahib, do not put Allah to the test, and fear Him. His relationship with me is extraordinary.‘ [5]

The whole life of Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) personifies this statement of ‘His relationship with me is extraordinary.‘ Indeed, his whole life was spent in the path of Allah the Almighty. It led him to Arabia to pursue knowledge, to dreams of the Holy Prophet (sa), and finally led him to accept the Imam of the Age, the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (as). 

Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) had a profound connection with God. We marvel at it, and listen to it as the beautiful gem that it was. The God of Nooruddin still exists, and He awaits our pleas so that He may help us. He awaits our prayers so that He may answer them. He awaits our journey to righteousness, for that Ever-Living God walks with us in the journey. 

It is for us to embark upon this path. If the brief gist I have mentioned above has demonstrated anything, it is that sincerity will win you the Love of God.

About the Author: Tariq Mahmood is a final year student at the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada and serves as Secretary of The Existence Project Team for The Review of Religions.


[1] Mirqatul Yaqeen Fi Hayat Nooruddin

[2] Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin – Khalifatul-Masih I, By Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, page 51

[3] Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin, Khalifatul-Masih I, By Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, page 36

[4] Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin – Khalifatul-Masih I, By Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, page 87-91

[5] Hayat e Noor, Chapter 4, page 273-275