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80 YEARS AGO

32 80 YEARS AGO (The following is an extract from an article on the subject of the appearance of the Mahdi which appeared in the September issue of the Review of Religions, 1908.) Another important event in the life of the Mahdi was also predicted by the Holy Prophet. He said that in his day, a holy soul with a brother of his would be murdered. This will excite the wrath of God and a crier shall cry from the heavens, such and such a man is your Amir’ and that man shall be the Mahdi. (Vide Iqtirab-us-Saah, page 102 and the Hujaj-ul-Karamah, page 350). This prophecy was fulfilled in the murder of two disciples of Ahmad at Kabul by Amir Abdur Rahman and the present Amir respectively for their accepting Ahmad as the Promised Mahdi and openly rejecting the doctrines of Jehad and a Ghazi Mahdi. Such beliefs could not be tolerated in Afghanistan, the land of Jehad and Ghaziism. The result was that the Mullas of Kabul declared both of them to be heretics that deserved to be murdered and both were put to death with utmost cruelty/One of these two martyrs was a renowned Mullah of Afghanistan who enjoyed a reputation for sanctity of character which was shared by few in the land. 50 000 Afghans revered him as their spiritual leader and are still proud to call themselves his disciples. This Mullah was called Sahibzada Abdul Latif and was among the distinguished members of the Kabul Durbar. He was not only a Pir, with 50 000 Afghans as his devoted followers, but was also possessed of a great estate in the province of Khost in Afghanistan. But the chief reason for which he commanded the esteem, not only of the masses, but also of the king on the throne, lay in his vast learning and unparalleled sanctity of his life. He was a man of great moral courage and feared neither the Amir nor the people in declaring what he believed to be the truth. He happened to see some of the writings of Ahmad and was so overpowered with the light of truth that he met with in the writings that he could not rest at home in Afghanistan but came to Qadian to see Ahmad. Some of his followers, learning from their master that the Mahdi was at Qadian, had already come here to see Ahmad. Among them was Abdur Rahman who on his return was assassinated by the late Amir Abdur Rahman for the reasons stated above. But the example of his disciple could not deter Maulvi Abdul Latif from leaving his home in the fastnesses of Afghanistan to pay a visit to Ahmad in whom he had REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 33 recognised the long-promised Mahdi. He knew that to cpme down to Qadian or to express a faith in Ahmad was certain death, but he was too much lost in the love of the Mahdi to care for death. He knew that the Mahdi was at Qadian, he had read his writings and was convinced of his truth (even conviction does not fully express the degree of his faith in Ahmad), ‘and he obeyed the commandment of the Holy Prophet who said when you hear that the Mahdi has made his appearance, go to see him even if you have to scramble over mountains of snow and ice.’ He came to Qadian with a few of his followers; and saw the man, a desire to see whom had drawn him to Qadian from his distant home in the land of the Pathans, A look at Ahmad afforded him a bliss as great as the enjoyments of paradise,and a word from the lips of the Mahdi was sweeter to him than the sweetest honey. He stayed here for about three months. Ahmad asked him to take up his abode permanently in Qadian and not to go back to Afghanistan where he was sure to meet with death; but he replied. “To part with you is more than I can bear, but there is a duty which calls me back to Kabul. I know that certain death awaits me there, out aeam has no terror for me. Being a son of Afghanistan, I must carry this news to my native land; and it shall be with my own blood that I will deliver this message to my country. I know, my country demands my blood, and I will willingly shed it in order to deliver this message to my brethren in Afghanistan. This kind of death will be a pleasure to me rather than a pain. I must part with you, and you will soon hear’that I have been murdered in Kabul.” With these words the brave son of the mountains of Afghanistan departed from Qadian, and the first thing he did on reaching his home was that he wrote a letter to the court at Kabul informing the Amir of his visit to Qadian and inviting him to accept Ahmad as the Promised Mahdi and to renounce the idea of a Ghazi Mahdi whose sole means to propagate Islam was to be jehad a doctrine which was an insult to Islam and a disgrace to its followers. The result was exactly what was expected. He was at once summoned to Kabul where he was put in prison. The Muftis and Mullas gave their verdict that he was a heretic who deserved, to be stoned to death before the eyes of the whole city. The Amir who had hitherto held him in high esteem promised him deliverance and restoration to his former dignity and honour if he only apparently recanted his belief before the people, holding privately any opinion he liked, but Maulvi Abdul Latif was too noble to make such a mock confession, and he replied like a true hero, ‘I will not barter my faith for my life.’ So he was stoned to death before the whole city of Kabul, the Amir being himself 34 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS amongst those who cast stones at him. Abdul Latif nobly laid down his life for his faith and his murder was immediately followed by a severe outbreak of-cholera in the city which in a few days swept off thousands of the inhabitants. What further punishment the murder of the holy man and that of his disciple, Abdur Rahman, by the late Amir, may bring down on Kabul is known to God alone. Thus, as the tradition said, a holy soul and a brother of his were murdered at Kabul and the fulfilment of this prophecy of the Holy Prophet served as a sign of the truth of Ahmad, it should also be remembered that the murder of these disciples was also predicted by Ahmad about a quarter of a century before the occurence in his work, the Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, which contained the following revelation of God: ot*yii oiJLi which means that two sheep will be slaughtered. Thus the death of these two martyrs served as a double sign of the truth of Ahmad, inasmuch as their death not only fulfilled the prophecy of the Holy Prophet but also the Word of God revealed to Ahmad about 25 years before these occurences. The heroic way in which both these martyrs laid down their lives for the sake of their faith constitutes an additional evidence of the truth of Ahmad, for it reveals the strong faith with which Ahmad had inspired them. Peace to the ashes of these two heroic martyrs! WHO ARE THE BLESSED? Those who have kept their sympathies awake, And scattered joy for more than custom’s sake; Steadfast and tender in the hour of need, Gentle in thought, benevolent in deed; Whose looks have power to make dissensions cease; They who have lived as harmless as the dove, Teachers of truth and ministers of love; Love for all moral power – mental grace, Love for the humblest of the human race; Love for that tranquil joy that virtue brings; Love for the Giver of all lovely things Who wait in peace their hour of final rest; These are those who are truly blessed.

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