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Milestones in a Life lived to the Full

Thou O soul at peace! Return to thy Lord well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee. So enter thou among My chosen servants, and enter thou My Garden. (Al-Fajr Ch 89: v.28-31) Hadhrat Sahibzada Mirza Ta h i r Ahmad Sahib was born in Qadian on Tu e s d a y, 18 December 1928 (corre s p o n d i n g to 5 Rajab 1347), one day before the town’s celebration for the arrival of the railway service in Qadian (India). He used to joke that it was he who brought the trains to Qadian. His father was the Promised Reformer, Hadhrat Mirza Bashiru d d i n Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih II( r a ), the son of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (community of followers), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad( a s ) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (1835-1908). He was thus the grandson of the P romised Messiah ( a s ). His mother was Hadhrat Syeda Maryam Begum Sahiba (known m o re popularly as Umm-i- Ta h i r, the mother of Ta h i r ) . Hadhrat Sahibzada Mirza Ta h i r Ahmad grew under the caring supervision of his parents and did his primary education in Qadian. He passed his matric- ulation at Talimul Islam High School in Qadian in 1944 and his FSc at Government College L a h o re but studied privately for his BA. His mother, to whom he was greatly attached, passed away on 5 March 1944 but his upbringing was such that he re g a rded the other wives of his father also as his mothers. While in Qadian, he used to recall that he used to pray near the entrance to the mosque so that as soon as prayers finished, he could make his way straight to the 14 The Review of Religions – April 2003 Milestones in a Life Lived to the Full A brief look at the life of Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (1928 – 2003) Khalifatul Masih IV (10 June 1982 – 19 April 2003) home. During the 1947 par- tition of India, he performed security duties in Qadian and then migrated with his father and the rest of the family to Pakistan. On 7 December 1949, he e n rolled into the Jamia Ahmadiyya (the theosophical academy) Rabwah and obtained his qualification in 1953 as a Shahid. In 1955, he p roceeded for further education to London where he enrolled for a course in English at the Languages section of the School of Oriental and African Studies, linked to the University of London. He developed many friends at the SOAS with whom he con- tinued correspondence for many years. He is recalled as truly inspirational, kind, wise, compassionate, understanding, h u m o rous – all the qualities that people strive to acquire. His cousin bro t h e r, Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (later to become Khalifatul Masih III) was studying at the Balliol College in Oxford and the two of them used to turn up regularly at the Fazl Mosque London. He was a marksman and a keen sportsman with an interest in Kabadi, squash and cricket and his adventuro u s inclinations made him hitchhike his way thro u g h most parts of Europe. On 14 October 1957, Hadhrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib returned to Pakistan and on 5 December 1957, his Nikah was announced with Hadhrat Syeda Asifa Begum Sahiba, the daughter of Amatul Salam Sahiba and Sahibzada Mirza Rashid Ahmad Sahib. The wedding took place on 9 December and his walima feast was held two days later. He was blessed with four daughters: Sahibzadi Shaukat Jehan Sahiba , Sahibzadi Faiza Luqman Sahiba, Sahibzadi Yasmin Rahman Mona Sahiba and Sahibzadi Atiya-tul-Habib Tooba Sahiba. In 1958, the Waqf Jadid scheme was launched and amongst its o ffice bearers, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II put down his name first and then 15 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 appointed him as Nazim Irshad Waqf Jadid, a post that he held till his election as the Khalifatul Masih IV. In 1960, he delivered his first public address at the Annual Convention in Rabwah. He had a charming personality, was a gifted poet and a lively orator who always carried the audience with him all the way. Those attending the Annual Convention made it a special point to listen to his addresses. (Lajna Imaillah published his collection of poems (Kalami-i- Tahir) in 1995, a second revision was published in 1997, an updated version was published by the Jama’at in Germany in 1998 and the fourth revised and updated edition was published in 2001.) Hadhrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib’s book Madhhab Ke Naam Par Khun (also available in English as Murder in the Name of Allah) was published in 1962. It is a vibrant and lively informed rejection of the philosophy p ropounded by Maulana Maududi of Jama’at Islami that disbelievers should be given no choice other than to either accept Islam or face the sword. The author proved Maududi’s philosophy mirrored Marxism. The use of force can never be justified by a religion literally meaning peace. F rom 1966 to 1969, Hadhrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib served as Sadr Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya ( C e n t r a l ) , an auxiliary org a n i – sation of the community’s male members between the ages of 15 and 40. In 1970, he was appointed as the Director Fazl Umar Foundation. Then in 1974, under the leadership of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III, he participated in the great debate as a re p resentative on behalf of the Ahmadi delegation in the National Assembly of Pakistan. He also travelled to London to attend the symposium on the ‘Deliverance of Jesus from the C ross’. He used to recall with g reat pride that the first task he undertook at the Centre was to go through all the files at the C e n t re and this gave him an 16 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 excellent insight to the main issues. In 1975, his compilation of the first volume on the Life of Fazl Umar was published. On 1 January 1979, Hadhrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib was elected as Sadr Majlis Ansarullah (Central), an auxiliary organisation of the community for men over 40 years of age. He held this post till his election as the Khalifatul Masih IV. In addition, he served the community by running a homeopathic clinic and many persons attending the Annual Convention in Rabwah recall having been t reated by his excellent remedies. He also served for many years as Naib Afsar Jalsa Salana in Rabwah. In September 1980, he a d d ressed gatherings in Rawalpindi, Multan, Chak 366 B, and in October in Faisalabad, Muzaff a rg h a r. At the Majlis Ansarullah Ijtima’a, there was simultaneous trans- lation in English and Indonesian languages of his a d d resses. At the Annual Convention 1980, his address was the Noble Example of the Holy Prophet in the Battles. In January 1981, he addressed the Seeratun Nab Jalsa, Rabwah, in F e b ruary he toured Sanghar, Multan, Wahri, in March Chak 38 south Sargodha in addition to presiding at the Jalsa Yaum Masih Maud in Rabwah. In April, he toured Jehlum, in May in Karto, Sheikhupura, Sambriyal, Raipur in Sialkot, in June Phahaywali, October in Gujranwala, November in Takht Hazara, and on 27 May 1982, he presided at the Jalsa Yaum Khilafat in Rabwah. His book, Wasal Ibn Maryam was published. On the hot and sultry day of 10 June 1982, the Electoral College convened in Masjid Mubarak, Rabwah, under the chair- manship of Sahibzada Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, and pur- suant to its rules, elected Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad as the Khalifatul Masih IV. The first person to pledge the inaugural oath of allegiance and initiation at his hands was 17 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 a Companion of the Promised Messiah(as), residing in London, H a d h r atChaudhry Muhammad Z a f rulla Khan ( r a ). There a f t e r, 25,000 participated in the inaugural pledge of allegiance. He led the Asr prayers and in the Qasr Khilafat, Sayeda Amatul Hafeez Begum Sahiba(ra) put on his finger the P romised Messiah’s ring inscribed with his first revelation. On the same date, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, led the funeral prayers of his p re d e c e s s o r, Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih III(ra), who was buried in Bahishti Maqbara Rabwah. The next day, he delivered his first Friday sermon as the Khalifatul Masih and advised the Jama’at not to pass customary resolutions but to pledge to work with piety and righteousness. On 13 June 1982, the Daily AlFazl carried his special message to and prayers for the people of Palestine. In July 1982, he left Pakistan for a tour of Europe. On 1 August 1982, he addressed the community in Oslo, on 8 August Gotenburg, 11 August in Copenhagen, 13 August in Hamburg, 19 August at a press conference in Frankfurt, on 31 August in Zurich on The F u t u re of Mankind, on 4 September in The Hague and on 10 September he performed the grand opening of the first Ahmadiyya mosque, Basharat Mosque, in Pedroabad, Spain, whose foundation stone had been laid by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III. On 22 September he met the Scottish orientalist, Sir Montogomery Watt, and then opened various Jama’at centres in the UK. Upon his return to Pakistan, he launched the Buyutul Hamd scheme. Its purpose was to provide accommodation facil- ities in commemoration of the thanks-giving centenary cele- brations to deserving members of the community. On 15 December 1982, he launched an appeal for five new mission c e n t res (now called tabligh c e n t res) in America. On 25 December 1982, he started the Majlis Sehti Jismani (Physical Health). From 26 to 28 18 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 December 1982, the first Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) under Khalifatul Masih IV was held in Rabwah. His address at this Convention was on the t h ree creative principles and entitled: ‘Adl, Ihsan and Ita’i Dhil Qurba (justice, grace, and to give like the giving of kin to kin). This theme was published in English in 1996 as Absolute Justice, Kindness and Kinship. On 28 January 1983, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV started the Dawati ilillah (a scheme committed to making the call to Allah and conveying the message of true Islam amongst seekers of the truth; additional i n s t ructions involving the entire community in this noble task were issued in subsequent years). On 1 April 1983, the first Majlis Shura under his Khilafa was held. He established this institution on very firm footings while still preserving the traditions on which it had been founded and used to remind members that Majlis Shura ranked next in importance to Khilafat. In August 1983, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV started his tour to the Far East and 19 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV making his first speech after being elected as Khalifa of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Movement in 1982. On the extreme right with his hand on his beard is the distinguished Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrulla Khan. Australia where he laid the foundation stone of Baitul Huda, Sydney. Between 26 and 28 December 1983, the last Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) was held in Rabwah at which more than 275,000 participants (the highest gathering to date) took part. From 30 March to 1 April 1984, the last Majlis Shura of his Khilafat was held in Rabwah and the last Friday Sermon delivered by him was on 20 April 1984. On 26 April 1984, General Ziaul Haq issued the notorious anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX rendering it a criminal offence punishable with fines and imprisonment for Ahmadis to engage in certain acts of worship or use certain Islamic terminologies. After Isha (night) prayers on 28 April 1984 at the Masjid Mubarak in Rabwah, he addressed the worshippers and on 29 April 1984 he left his home in Rabwah and arrived mirac- ulously in London safely on 30 20 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s remarkable gift was being able to make everyone, young or old, feel close to him. His affection, concern and welfare for Jama’at members was always evident by the hundreds of Community functions he attended. April 1984. (See extract from the Man of God in this issue.) The first thing that he did was to summon a meeting of the community and asked the members to pull up their socks for the challenges ahead. The first Friday sermon delivered in London after his arrival in the UK was at the Fazl Mosque on 4 May 1984. Additional staff joined him later and offices and desks were created for specific tasks. On 20 July 1984, the govern- ment of Pakistan issued its White Paper terming the Ahmadiyya community a ninety years cancer that had to be terminated. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV rose to the challenge and t h rough a series of sermons (now available as D h a h a q a l Batil), he minced no words and pulled no punches as he p roduced evidence and destroyed piece by piece each false allegation levelled against the Founder of the community or its beliefs. This was further supplemented by appeals made to leading parliamen- 21 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 Hadhrat KhalifatulMasih IV’s love of brisk walking as a form of exercise was a regular habit performed each morning just after Fajr prayer. tarians, human rights org a n – isations and Amnesty International and his tru s t e d friend, Mr Aftab Ahmad Khan, Amir UK, and bro t h e r, Sahibzada Mirza Muzaff a r Ahmad, Amir USA, assisted him in this task. On 14 March 1986, he launched the Syedna Bilal Fund for the families and dependants of prisoners in the cause of Allah and the m a r t y red. On 20 September 1986, he laid the foundation stone of Baitul Islam , Maple Ont., Canada. On 3 April 1987, anticipating the challenges the next century is likely to pose and to hasten the spiritual revolution which Ahmadiyyat had been divinely commissioned to bring about, he launched the Waqf Nau Scheme. Members of the Jama’at were invited to dedicate children after or even before birth to the services of Islam. The community responded with great fervour to the initial target of 5,000 (increased two years later to 15,000), both surpassed. In 1992, a separate Wakalat Waqf Nau was created. At 8.15 pm on 14 June 1987, a lecture was d e l i v e red in the German language from his Urdu notes at the Oule University of Zurich which became the basis for his later magnum opus, Revelation, Rationality, Know- ledge and Tr u t h published in 1998. On 1 August 1987, at the UK Annual Convention, two kings of Nigeria were given pieces from the garments of the Promised Messiah(as) (who had p rophesied that kings shall seek blessings from his garments). In January 1988, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV started his first tour of various countries in West Africa and gave friendly advice to the leaders of the African nations. He followed this up with a tour of East Africa in August and Mauritius in September- October that year. On Friday 10 June 1988, a revelation seen by many Ahmadis earlier of something significant to happen on Friday the Tenth, was fulfilled when on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, he 22 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 issued a challenge to a M u b a h i l a (a prayer duel) specifically mentioning General Ziaul Haq as a party and refuting many false allegations, such as the murder of Aslam Qureshi, to the leaders of the opponents of Ahmadiyyat as a result of which many signs proving the t ruth of Ahmadiyyat were observed. Maulana Aslam Q u reshi whose kidnap and m u rder was alleged to have been committed by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV suddenly re a p p e a red alive in Pakistan and was seen on Pakistan TV. On 17 August 1988, reported the next day’s The Sun, ‘Zia Blown Out Of The Sky’. The Financial Times reported ‘As the coffin containing only his teeth (nothing else of him could be found) was lowered into the grave, a 21-gun salute sounded.’ In February 1989, the Iranian authorities issued their ‘fatwa’ of death on Salman Rushdie for his blasphemy when he wrote the S a t a n i c Verses but instead of demon- strations and book burning, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV advised the Muslims to refute the allegations made against the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa) and said that no one on earth has been granted an authority to punish the offence of blasphemy. 23 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV authored many books especially subjects dealing with Islamic perspectives on modern-day problems, situations and current-affairs. On 23 April 1989, he led the community in the thanksgiving celebrations of the first centenary of Ahmadiyyat. This had been preceded the night before by a dinner in London at which leading dignitaries were p resent whom he addre s s e d . The Pakistan authorities, h o w e v e r, put a ban on the celebrations in Rabwah with some ridiculous re s t r i c t i o n s with which we shall not bore our readers. In July 1989, he departed on a tour of the Far East and on 3 November 1989, he established the system of Sadarat (presidency) of all auxiliary organisations report- ing directly to him. On Friday 10 1989, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. On 24 February 1990, he delivered a lecture on Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues (since published) at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London attended by 800 guests. Between 3 August 1990 and 15 March 1991, he delivered a series of 17 Friday 24 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV receiving a rapturous welcome from the UK Jama’at after his historic return from the 1992 Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) in Qadian sermons as the Gulf Crisis polarised the Muslim world f rom countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and the injustices unfolded before them. The advice given by him to the Muslim world in the last decade of the millennium was the most valuable piece of advice to prepare the Muslims for the next millennium. (These sermons were translated in English and published in 1992). In December 1991, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV undertook his historic journey to India and a d d ressed the 100th Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) in Qadian asking mankind to put aside inter-communal strife and put the mutual interest of humanity first. On 31 January 1992, his Friday Sermon was telecast live by satellite across Europe. On 3 April, his wife, Hadhrat Syeda Asifa Begum Sahiba, passed a w a y. However, he did not let 25 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 The highlight of the Annual Convention held in the UK each year was the live televised International bait which was broadcast all over the world. Under the leadership of Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community had grown from a few thousand to over 200 million members … and is still growing. this deter him from carrying out his duties and led the Eid prayers the next day. She was buried in Brookwood, Surre y. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad chose to remain a widower for the rest of his life. The UK Annual Convention was telecast live that year and on 21 August, Huzur’s sermons began to be telecast in four continents. He opened Baitul Zikr in To ronto on 17 October 1992. Huzur addressed Jalsa Salana Qadian (26-28 December 1992) live from London and the first ba’iat was telecast live. At the UK Annual Convention, 200,000 new Ahmadis who had joined Ahmadiyyat fro m August 1992 to July 1993 took their bai’at on 31 July 1993. Till 2002, this number swelled in leaps and bounds to: 400,000 in 1994 800,000 1995 1,600,000 1996 3,000,000 1997 5,000,000 1998 10,000,000 1999 40,000,000 2000 to 80,000,000 2001 and 20,000,000 2002 On 31 December 1993, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, delivered his Friday Sermon in Mauritius and Muslim Television Ahmadiyya commenced its 12-hour coverage on satellite. On 7 January 1994, MTA started operations in full and Al-Fazl International was launched in London. On 23 March 1994, Homeopathy class and on 15 July 1994, Ta r j a m a t u l ( Translation) Qur’an class started on MTA. MTA began to transmit his addre s s e s , sermons and the popular M U L A Q AT, MAJLIS IRFA N and LIQA MA’ AL-ARAB (featuring Question and Answer sessions which contributed so much to the dynamic expansion of the community) and Urdu Class (a teach yourself language class using the way a mother teaches her children their mother tongue) and Saturday Class for the children. He also spearheaded the rewriting of a comprehensive compact book, Salat, The Muslim Prayer Book, an unmatched introduction to every form of Islamic worship. 26 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 27 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 Muslim Television Ahmadiyya was started by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV and is watched by many from all over the world. His contribution to MTA’s programming was immense and included Homeopathy teaching, Question and Answer for Arabic viewers (top picture); Q/A with ladies (picture above); Q/A for children, and for French, German, Bangladeshi, Bosnian and English viewers. International Question and Answer were also often shown with people from all religions and backgrounds participating in televised Q/A sessions. On 14 October 1994, Baitur Rahman, Maryland USA, was opened and on the same date an MTA earth station was established in the USA. On 5 July 1996, MTA’s programmes began to be transmitted on the global beam. In 1997, his masterpiece Christianity: a Journey From Fact to Fiction showing how far Christianity had deviated from the message conveyed to Jesus was published. By that year, he diligently completed addi- tional footnotes to the translation of the Holy Qur’an in English prepared by Maulwi Sher Ali truer to the actual meaning and without adding an explanatory commentary, w h e re necessary. On 24 F e b ruary 1999, Huzur completed the 305 hours Tarjamatul Qur’an class. On 19 October 1999, he laid the foundation stone of Europe’s largest mosque in Morden, UK. The year 2000 is perh a p s re m e m b e red for his historic tour of Indonesia and the warm reception with which the people of Indonesia welcomed him. The UK Annual Convention 2002 was his last Jalsa Salana. Since his migration to the UK, 13,065 mosques and 985 mission houses (or tabligh centres) had been built in various overseas countries. He provided an excellent trans-lation of the Holy Q u r’an in Urdu (revised and republished with an expanded index in 2002). The Holy Qur’ a n had been translated in 56 languages in addition to the 100 languages in which selected verses from the Holy Qur’ a n had been translated. The seed of Ahmadiyyat had been sown in 84 new countries (175 in a g g re g a t e ) . On 21 February 2003, he launched the Maryam Shadi Fund to give financial help to girls in poor families. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, delivered his last Friday Sermon at the London Mosque on 18 April 2003 and that same evening, attended a Majlis Irfan (Question & Answer session). At 9.30 am on 19 April 2003, he passed away in his residence. INNA LILLAHI WAINNA ALAIHI RAJIOON. 28 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 29 Milestones in a Life lived to the Full The Review of Religions – April 2003 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV