Press Report – Jailed for Saying Prayer

PRESS REPORT JAILED FOR SAYING PRAYER On 23rd February 1985, Mr Mahmood Ahmad Shams, an Ahmadi Muslim and sale’s and marketing manager of Heavey Mechanical Complex, Taxila, Pakistan, visited Wapda Power House, Multan, on an official tour. He was wearing the Kalima badge on his coat. When the time came for Zuhar (noon) prayer, Mr Mahmood Ahmad Shams and his Ahmadi friend Mr Amjad Ali, offered their prayers within the compound of Wapda Power House, Multan. Later, the police instituted under sec, 29 8c, Pakistan Penal Code against both Ahmadis: (i) Mr Mahmood Ahmad Shams was charged for wearing the Kalima badge and for offering prayers, (ii) Mr Amjad Ali was charged for offering prayers. The case was heard by Mr Muhammad Hussain Baloch, Magistrate class I, Multan. After giving a brief account of the incident he wrote in his judgement: (1) In his statement to the police, Mr Mahmood Ahmad Shams admitted that he belongs to the Ahmadiyya Community; that he came on an official visit to Power House, Multan; that he had a Kalima badge on his coat and that he had offered his prayers. Mr Shams further stated that he had committed no crime and that no body showed any reaction to the Kalima badge or his offering prayers during his visit. It was many days later that he came to know that he was involved in a case which he regarded as false. Mr Shams did not present any witnesses, nor did he appear as a witness. (2) Mr Amjad Ali said in his statement that he is an Ahmadi and that he had offered his prayers on that day as a daily routine. He had been doing so for the last 18 years. He had, therefore, committed no crime. He said that he was involved in the case due to religious enmity. No defence witnesses appeared. (3) The prosecution witnesses, Mr Jaafar Hussain Nasir and Nazir Ahmad Siddiqui stated that they asked Mr Amjad Ali why was Mr Shams wearing the Kalima badge? He replied that Mr Shams had done so in order to let others know that Ahmadis are Muslims too. They claimed REVIEW OF RELIGIONS . 47 that due to that the religious feelings of the witnesses were hurt. (4) The defence council made a plea that the displaying of a badge by a Qadiani or Mirzai did not amount to an offence. Therefore by displaying the Kalima or offering prayer, the accused had not comitted any offence. The Council for Prosecution maintained that the accused belonged to the Ahmadiyya Community and that by displaying the badge and offering prayers like Muslims, they had acted as Muslims and hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, hence both the accused had committed a criminal offence punishable under Sec.298/c of the Pakistan Penal Code. Mr Mahmood Ahmad Shams has described the events of 28th January 1990 when he attended the court in connection with the case: I reached the court at 9 am. Mr Amjad Ali was also there. We were called at about 1 pm. The magistrate, Muhammad Hussain Baluch, heard arguments from both sides. He then announced his decision. I was convicted for wearing the Kalima badge and offering prayers, while Mr Amjad Ali was acquitted. After about 15 minutes a copy of the decision was given to-me. In the meantime, Mr Amjad Ali had informed an Ahmadi advocate, Mr Chaudhry Abdul Hafeez, about my conviction. Mr Abdul Hafeez came to the court and asked Mr Amjad Ali to bring some food for me. The policeman insisted that he would take me immediately to the police lock-up, but the registrar of the court told him to wait until I had finished my meal. The police constable had no handcuffs with him and, therefore, tried to tie my hands together with a piece of cloth. The registrar again intervened and told the police official to take me .without being handcuffed. He took me to the police lock-up, and handed me over to the officials. The person incharge asked me, ‘What crime did you commit’? I replied, ‘I offered my prayers’. He was much surprised at the nature of my crime. The place was very filthy and stinking. Some one had been urinating. Rubbish was on the floor. The latrine gutter was blocked and was overflowing. Some of the inmates were smoking. There was a strong odour of marijuana. The criminals were exchanging filthy abuses. They were surprised to see me among them. One asked, ‘What brings you here’. I told him, ‘Because I offered prayers’. They began to criticise the government for making such stupid laws. After a while the roll call began and we were led outside handcuffed 48 . REVIEW OF RELIGIONS and chained. When I was being handcuffed a fellow prisoner addressed the policeman and said, ‘Shame on you. Shame on you. You are putting handcuffs on a person who is sentenced for saying his prayers’. We were bundled into a police van. I was busy in Tasbih and Tahmeed, i.e., rememberance of Allah, quietly. We reached the District jail. We came out of the van, all tied up to a long chain. The door of the jail opened. The officers started the body search. One by one the prisoners were thoroughly searched, even to the extent the cords of their shalwaars being loosened and hands being put inside. I prayed to God Almighty to save me from this indignity. My prayers were answered. When my turn came, they just checked my pockets and allowed me in. We were taken to the office one by one. Our names and other particulars were registered. The officer again inquired me what crime I had committed and the sentence I received, i told him that I was given one year rigorous imprisonment and fined 1000 Rupees, for saying my prayers. He was surprised. He looked at me and offered me a seat. I kept standing. After the entries in the register, I was told to go to B-2 Ward where I was told that I would be given a-blanket for the night. I performed ablutions, An in-mate spread a sheet for me and I offered Asr prayer. I prayed: ‘0 my Creator: Here I am. I submit myself to Thee, wholly and completely. Take me into Your care.’ I prayed vehemently for 15-20 minutes. The prisoners had gathered round me by that time. They were curious to know what crime I had committed. When I told them, they began to hurl abuses at the government and the mullahs who were responsible for my predicament. After a while the orders for. my release came. Ahmadi brothers were waiting for .me outside the jail. They embraced me and congratulated me for being a ‘prisoner in the name of Allah’. A tea party was arranged in my honour. Mr Chaudhry Abdul Hafeez, advocate, and Mr Rana Bashir Ahmad advocate, told me: ‘It was only by the sheer grace of God that you were released after only 3 hours. In similar cases the normal time taken by the courts for the release of a prisoner is 7-10 days.’ Mr Abdul Hafeez Advocate told me that he got the copy of the judgement immediately from the court. He, then, rushed to the Session Court, and told the judge about the case. The judge was so sympathetic that he gave orders for my release on bail immediately.. Now the problem REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 49 was who would stand surety for me. It was 2.30 pm. At that moment Mr Rana Bashir Ahmad advocate, came into the court room and gave the guarantee required by law. Thus by the grace of God I was out of the jail before 5 pm. This was indeed one of God’s signs which I witnessed. The case would continue in the court of law and I hope that God would show another sign of His Mercy and Kindness in favour of Ahmadiyyat. Inshallah, For further information please contact: Rashid Ahmad Chaudhry, 16-18 Gressenhall Road, London. SW18. Tel: 081-870 8517 (Ext.147) (from page 12) Criminal Court of Secunderabad. We were sentenced for eight days jail punishment. I was weeping in the jail and saying that it was my Ahl-e-Hadith partner who had been speaking ill and I was entangled unjustly. I was then asked why I was keeping his company. From this dream, I realised that my Ahl-e-Hadith partner being against Ahmadiyyat was opposing the Ahmadiyya Movement; whereas I was associating myself with him inspite of being convinced of the truth of Ahmadiyyat. For this reason I was given the jail punishment in this world, and if I had continued the same attitude I would have been given the punishment of hell after death. I narrated this dream to my Ahl-e-Hadith partner and afterwards on Friday the 9th April, 1915, I embraced Ahmadiyyat through Alhaj Maulana Mir Muhammad Sayeed Saheb, the Amir of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, Hyderabad. All praise to Allah In a letter dated 24th March, 1925, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community Hazrat Khalifatul Masih n wrote to me: Before you accepted Ahmadiyyat, probably Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Saheb wrote to me about you, stating that you were inclined towards Ahmadiyyat and might perhaps soon join the Movement. I then saw in a dream that you were seated in a magnificent building, in the midst of which was a great verandah wherein a throne had been carved out. I saw you seated on the throne with divine effulgence falling upon you in the form of rain. I was then convinced that you would join the Movement and Allah would make your presence beneficial to humanity, and indeed it happened so. I trust in God that He will fulfil this dream of mine more clearly through your ownself as well as through your family. The REVIEW of RELIGIONS The Review of Religions is the oldest magazine of its kind published in English language in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent. Its first issue was published in 1902 and it has been continuously published since. It bears the distinction that it was initiated under the direction of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah himself. During more than eighty-eight years the message of Islam has been conveyed through this magazine to millions of readers and many fortunate persons have recognized the truth of Islam and accepted it through its study. The articles published in it deal not only with the doctrines and teachings of Islam but also set forth a comparative appreciation of the teachings of other faiths. One of its outstanding features is the refutation of the criticism of Islamic teachings by orientalists and non-muslim scholars. It also presents solutions in the light of Islamic teachings of the problems with which the Islamic world is from time to time confronted. A study of this magazine is indispensable for the appreciation of the doctrines of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the teachings of its Holy Founder. Printed by Raqeem Press Islamabad, Shcaphatch lane, TiHord, Surrey GU10 2AO, U.K Published by The Review of Religions, The London Mosque, 16 Gressenhall Road, London SW18 SQL.