Persecution

For Love of the Kalima

27 FOR LOVE OF THE KALIMA (In this letter Dr. Mumtaz Ali of Jampur, Pakistan, a respected member of the Ahmadiyya community, descibes some of the events which happened in a Pakistani jail. He was arrested recently for writing the Declaration of Faith known as Kalima Tayyaba, [there is none worthy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah] on the walls of his house. This is not an account of one Ahmadi. In fact throughout the length and breadth of the country, hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims have been arrested on the same charge and subjected to the same or even worse treatment.) Reciting the Kalima, La ilaha illalaho Muhammad-ur-Rasoolulah, I entered the prison gates and exactly 24 days later, I came out singing the glory of God. I was released on bail. All the inmates of the prison came upto the main gate to see me off. There were all sorts of criminals, from petty thieves to fierce looking dacoits and murderers, to whom human life is of little value. They embraced me one by one and asked for prayers. I pray that they prove themselves to be the servants of mankind when they come out of the prison. You might ask why was I put behind bars. It is now two years since I wrote the Kalima Tayyaba on the water tank on the roof my house. Recently I erected an extension to my house as was the wish of my martyred son Sarfraz. This new building blocked the view of Kalima Tayyaba, so out of love for the Kalima, I wrote it again on the second storey wall so that it was clearly visible from a distance. That was my crime. Yes, the writing of the Kalima, the declaration of faith: there is none worthy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, is a crime in Pakistan but only for an Ahmadi Muslim. To tell you the truth, I was proud to commit that ‘crime’. I was determined to lay down even my life for its sake like any other Ahmadi Muslim. I was arrested on the 5th of October 1987, and spent two days and two nights in the police cell at Muhammad Pur. I could neither sleep at night nor during the day. During daytime extreme heat prevented me from sleeping and during the night I had regular ‘visitors’, high singing mosquitos, and blanket bugs which kept me awake. This gave me the opportunity to cry out to my Lord, to converse with my Beloved and to pour out my heart to Him. From behind the bars I could see the long bearded, haughty mullahs (Muslim priests) come and go from the police station. The purpose of their visits, as I learned later, was to pressurise the police authorities not to be lenient with me under any circumstance. The police regarded me as a dangerous criminal and therefore tried their usual tactics to humiliate me. They paraded me handcuffed in the streets of Muhammad Pur and Jampur to gain praise from the local mullahs and their followers. All along they remained apologetic to me saying that they were forced by the higher authorities to behave in such a manner. 28 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS A bail application was filed with the local magistrate at Jampur, on my behalf. For several days he tried to evade the request. At last the hearing of the application for bail began on the 17th October. I had received the news in jail that the mullahs of the area had made fiery speeches in their mosques threatening the Administration and Judiciary with dire consequences if bail were granted. Various deputations met the magistrate in this connection. The court room was full on the day the hearing began. The discussion took about an hour and a half. Most of the time my solicitor, Mian Iqbal Ahmad, advocate, the District Ameer of the Ahmadiyya community, Rajanpur put forward his arguments. The magistrate nodded his head occasionally, but he seemed to be baffled. He rejected my bail application. This is the gist of what he wrote in his judgement: The accused has every right to believe in the Kalima and recite it according to his Qadiani faith, but Qadianis have been declared as non-Muslims by the National Assembly. This has now become a law and order problem. The Ahle Hadith Ulema have passed several resolutions in their mosques that Qadianis cannot write the Kalima. Hence, the bail application is rejected. The next stage was to file the bail application with the session judge. The hearing took place on 29th October. The mullahs came in wagon loads to witness the scene, but they were disappointed, because the session judge had already granted bail in my case. I had sent a message to my lawyer from the jail not to persue my application because I wanted to prolong my stay in the prison. Those bare walls of the cell gave me the solitude I had longed for in my supplications. This inside world needed a DAI ILLALAH (Preacher) to deliver the divine message of Ahmadiyyat, and I took that opportunity readily, but my happiness was short lived and I was released from the prison. I came back to a relatively luxurious life, but believe me I could not sleep on the mattress for the first three days. I had become accustomed to sleeping on the hard floor of the prison cell. Thinking back, I can say for sure that I have experienced the love of God as I never have experienced it before. My imagination took me back to the days of the Holy Prophet. He and his followers were also persecuted for the sheer love of the Kalima. The feelings were indescribable. I wanted to prove to the world that the Kalima is the life and soul of every Ahmadi and for its sake no Ahmadi would hesitate to sacrifiice his life and honour. How far I have succeeded in proving my point only God knows. As for myself I am willing to go back to prison again for that ‘crime’. May Allah grant our enemies the wisdom to see the Truth. Amen.