Chapter Three

Early Life and Education

Birth and Childhood

On October 9, 1900, according to Jamadi-us-Sani 14, 1318 Hijrah, Allah blessed Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Bibi Fatima Noor with a son. This was the son of high commendations whose good news Maulana Nur-ud-Din had given and whose name—Saeed Ahmad—the Promised Messiah himself had chosen. And he proved to be true to his name: The effects and reflections of this name remained prominent throughout and in every phase of his life.

At the time when Doctor Saeed Ahmad was born in Debgaran, the circumstances and situation of his childhood house were as follows: The entrance to the house was through a doorway which opened into an extensive courtyard. On each side were separate rooms and verandah, thus constituting a big house. Similar houses, with similar architecture and layout, also existed alongside. In the other direction of the courtyard were small cottages which were used to store fuel ingredients and various other agricultural implements. In another cottage were housed large cabinets for the storage of medicines and valuable extracts as well as other valuable items and safe-keeps. Outside the four walls of the house was a platform made of stones onto which opened rooms: One housed the medical practice of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub, and the other rooms served as housing for guests.

It was in those houses—made of mud and stones—that there resided a few souls of the household whose hearts were illuminated by the light of faith. The light of Ahmadiyyat had spread throughout the household even before the birth of Doctor Saeed Ahmad. Thus, when he opened his eyes in this world, he saw it bright with the glow of faith. And the first voice he got familiar with was that of the remembrance of God and the oft-mention of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.)

Doctor Saeed Ahmad was the only son, and the second child, of his parents. His older sister, Noor Jahan Begum, was seven or eight years older than him. He was the apple of the eyes of the entire household. On the one hand was the love and attention of his father and uncle, and on the other the tender care of his mother and sister. All the same, great care was lavished on his education in every way. He was nurtured and raised with bountiful wishes, natural wishes, which were accompanied by prayers of day and night. In this way, even during childhood, his character was placed on a sound foundation. Where—in addition to his natural propriety—he inherited his father’s knowledge and wisdom, intelligence, wisdom and love of the holy Quran, he also inherited his mother’s patience, fortitude, tolerance, the service of spirit, and magnanimity of heart. And from his uncle he inherited good-naturedness, amicableness, humbleness, and friendliness.

Early Schooling

The beginnings of his instruction and schooling started at a very early age with partaking of the constant company of his father (Maulvi Muhammad Yahya) and his uncle (Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub.) During the long winter nights, these two elders would often sit around the fire pit in their home to gain warmth from the glowing embers, and in this way they would stay up late at night, engaged in religious conversations. The conversations revolved around matters of faith and often involved the Promised Messiah (i.e. Hazrat Mirza Sahib) as well as, of course, the Holy Quran. Thus, the urge to propagate the Holy Quran gained purchase in Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s heart and mind. And in this way, even before setting foot outside the home, the lifelong love for the Holy Quran and Ahmadiyyat had permeated his mind and his heart. 

His father had committed the Holy Quran to memory, and himself gave lessons of the Holy Quran. But in view of the consideration that he often had to undertake journeys (in connection with missionary work), he wanted to avoid discontinuities in his son’s education. So he enlisted the teaching services of Maulvi Hayat Ullah, also known as “Kulla Waaley Ustaad”, an Ahmadi religious elder. He taught the young boy the Holy Quran with great care and attention. In addition, his father himself took care of his beginning religious instructions as well as secular education. And from the very beginning—in addition to Urdu and mathematics—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya began teaching the young boy English, too. (Maulvi Muhammad Yahya had received education in English from the prestigious Oriental College in Lahore during the year 1901.) 

There was no organized school in the village of Debgaran, so the young Saeed Ahmad was sent to the neighboring village of Daata, which was at a distance of five to six miles. There was a primary school in Daata, and a few people there had already accepted Ahmadiyyat. The headmaster of the school, in fact, was an Ahmadi Muslim. Another resident Ahmadi Muslim—Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen—was a pious individual and led the life of a dervish. Such an environment was considered ideal for the young body. In addition, another youth student was sent to accompany him to look after him. And he (i.e. Doctor Saeed Ahmad) was entrusted to the care of the Sayyed family in Daata. He remained there for two years. 

At the end of each week, he would come home for one day. And when time would come around for him to return to Daata, he would always insist on not going, but his parents would always reason with him and convince him to go. On one occasion, his father wasn’t present at home when he came home from Daata. Despite the insistence of his mother, he kept insisting that he would not go. And clung to his position despite hundreds of such entreaties to try to convince him to go. He thought that in the absence of his father, after all, how much sternness could his mother resort to. And to his way of thinking, the boy that he was, he would get a day or two of reprieve from having to leave home before returning to Daata. But his mother knew that if she relented this time, his education would get derailed. With that in mind, Maulvi Hayat Ullah was summoned. And when even multiple entreaties from him were not having any effect on swaying the boy, he resorted to harshness and placed young Saeed Ahmad supine on the thorny bushes of a certain bush, saying, “I’ll set it afire.”

Thus, the convincing having failed, persuasion worked. Doctor Saeed Ahmad relates that for a long time after that incident, his back bore the marks from having been made to lie on the piercing thorns of that bush. That was the time when his mother, in a torrent of tears, had to quietly get young Saeed ready for school, and to send him far away from home.

Right from his childhood days, his father began taking Doctor Saeed Ahmad to religious meetings and encouraging him to recite the holy Quran as well as to address the audience. On one such occasion, members of the Ahmadiyya Movement had gathered in the village, and in fact some visitors from outside the village had also assembled. and thus it was the setting of a small gathering. His father instructed him to recite from the Quran. Young Saeed Ahmad had memorized a verse from Surah Al Tahreem and recited it. He was so young at the time that he could not pronounce the word “nara” correctly, and innocently pronounced it as “narha.” As a prize for his recitation, one of the elders from the audience gave him a penny.

On another occasion, when he was about five or six years old, his father said after the Friday sermon that Saeed would be giving the Friday sermon. So young Saeed got up and gave the sermon to the audience on innocent, childhood platitudes which mostly pertained to common etiquettes of society such as avoiding the throwing of trash from the rooftop into other people’s houses, avoiding spitting in the street, and similar etiquettes. And in this way, the series of sermons that he was to deliver throughout his life got their start.

Taking the Religious Pledge Through a Letter

When Doctor Saeed Ahmad was about six years old, he took the religious pledge from Hazrat Mirza Sahib. In those days, many children used to receive their education in the mosque of Debgaran, and they, too, along with others, took the religious pledge through written correspondence. The response to Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s request to take the pledge was received with the following words: “The pledge was accepted.

The First Travel to Qadian, in December 1907

In December 2019, Doctor Saeed Ahmad traveled to Qadian in the company of his father and uncle. Prior to that journey, and in consideration of his young age—thinking that looking after him would be challenging—his father was not inclined to take him along. But his uncle supported taking him along, insisting: “Let us take him along with us this time. Who knows whether he will receive this opportunity again.” Doctor Saeed Ahmad used to say in this regard:

I am grateful to my uncle. It was thanks to him that I was able to see Hazrat Mirza Sahib with my own eyes. Otherwise, I would never have  had the opportunity to do so. Hazrat Mirza Sahib, in fact, did pass away a little while after that.

Taking the Religious Pledge at the Hands of Hazrat Mirza Sahib

He remained in Qadian from December 1907 through March 1908. Prior to that, when he was six years old, he had already taken the religious pledge through written communication. This time, he partook of the privilege of taking the pledge at the hands of the Promised Messiah himself.

On reaching Qadian, his father advised him: “Look! We have come here to partake of the blessings of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s company; we have not come here for leisure. So do not get engrossed in sports and such pastimes. Whenever you can, remain in the service of Hazrat Mirza Sahib.

The fortunate son—Saeed Ahmad—took his father‘s advice to heart. Whenever any boys of his age invited him to come outside to play with them, he would simply reply: “We have not come here to play; we have come here for Hazrat Mirza Sahib.

During their stay, Saeed Ahmad’s custom was to intently sit near the doorway leading into the mosque, awaiting for Hazrat Mirza Sahib to alight. And as soon as he did, the young boy—Saeed Ahmad—would hold on to the clothes of the Promised Messiah and follow in his footsteps, all the way to the place where he would sit down on the floor of the mosque, and then he would seat himself nearby. Remembering these visitations and their effect on him, Doctor Saeed Ahmad would often say: “When Hazrat Mirza Sahib arrived in the mosque, it seemed as if a glowing light had leapt into their midst. Its illumination would spread everywhere, and one would  palpably sense its presence. During his conversations, the Promised Messiah‘s face would light up as well.

General Mahmood-al-Hasan has perhaps captured those impressions the best by way of the following verses of poetry:

His face was truly the moon resplendent

What was it, if not a torrent of light aglow

When the Promised Messiah seated himself in the mosque, his disciples would gather around him on the floor. And he would attend to his disciples with affection and care. His conversation with them was informal and casual: He truly was one among them. People would take the religious pledge at his hands and, witnessing that, Saeed Ahmad would also thrust his little hand in the midst of the other disciples’ hands. He also had the good fortune of massaging the Promised Messiah’s feet.

On one occasion, his father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—gave him a rupee coin and instructed him: “Place this rupee in the Promised Messiah‘s hand.” When the Promised Messiah arrived, Saeed Ahmad reached out with his hand and placed the rupee coin in his hands. The Promised Messiah asked: “Who is this boy?” Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was seated nearby and immediately replied: “This is your own ghulam zaada.” Thereupon, the Promised Messiah asked his name, to which he replied: “Saeed Ahmed is the name, one which you yourself had chosen for him.” Following that, the Promised Messiah made prayerful remarks in regards to Saeed Ahmad.

The phrase “ghulam zaada” was a new one for him. So when the gathering drew to an end, and father and son were alone, he innocently asked: “What is a ghulam zaada?” His father replied: “I am a servant of the Promised Messiah and you are my son. So in this way, you are the ghulam zaada of Hazrat Mirza Sahib because you are the son of his servant.” The memory of this incident remained etched in Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s mind for the rest of his life.

And for as long as he lived, Doctor Saeed Ahmad considered this to be his deepest source of pride: The two or three months that he spent in Qadian, and the effect on his soul of the meetings with Hazrat Mirza Sahib—suffused as they were with spiritual blessings emanating forth his person—and he drank deeply from that spiritual stream, in addition to being deeply moved by Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s enrapturing gaze.

During that stay, Saeed Ahmad also had the blessed opportunity of dining alongside the Promised Messiah: It so happened that the group of people—including Saeed Ahmad—who had come from Debgaran to Qadian, included a lady who was staying in the Promised Messiah‘s household. And oftentimes, his father would send him to look into the welfare of that lady. One day when he went inside the home of  the Promised Messiah, he was dining with his family and invited him to join them in the meal. Recalling that meal, Doctor Saeed Ahmad observed: “I can never forget the deliciousness of the rice I ate at that time. Never before and never since have I tasted such delicious, fragrant, and fine rice.

So that was his first and last stay in Qadian during the Promise Messiah‘s life. And indeed, that was the only occasion he had dining with him. How else could he have had the opportunity to partake of the satisfying meal, which—the soul-satisfying aspects of that blessed meal—was certainly the result of being infused by the spiritual blessings issuing forth from the Promised Messiah’s presence. And that, then, was the reason that the meal had made such an indelible impression on him.

Student Days in Mansehra

After Saeed Ahmad had spent two years in the primary school of Daata, his father got him enrolled in the Mansehra Middle School, which was at a distance of three miles from Debgaran. But in view of the daily toil of commuting back-and-forth between Debgaran and Mansehra, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya arranged for his son‘s lodging in the house of a Hindu friend (Sai Das) who held him (i.e. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya) in great esteem. For his lodging, Saeed Ahmad was given a small cabin made of planks, which was typically put to use for storing grains—in the Hindko language, it was referred to as tonri or anbar. So insular was the cabin that it was necessary to light a lamp even during the daytime.

On returning from school, he would spend the majority of his time in that cabin, studying under the light of a lamp. The people of the household would not include him in their meals; they would instead deliver his meals through a small window-like aperture in his cabin. He would eat quietly and gratefully. Never once did he bring any words of complaint to his lips on this treatment and nor did he complain to his parents that he was no longer able to enjoy the wide open lawns, the open fields, and the health-giving environment of his own village (Debgaran.)

His Stay in the Mansehra Boarding House

When Saeed Ahmad was in the sixth grade, he entered the boarding house which used to be associated with the Mansehra Middle School. In those days, Sheikh Zia Ullah was the headmaster who used to personally supervise the boarding house. He was himself an Ahmadi Muslim and had excellent relations with Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, and thus Saeed Ahmad received special attention. And at any rate, due to Sheikh Zia Ullah’s active supervision, the environment of the boarding house was excellent and of a high standard. The young boy always prided himself on being an Ahmadi Muslim and would, in fact, write his name as Saeed Ahmad Ahmadi: This fact—that he was an Ahmadi Mjuslim—was not hidden from anyone. As a result, certain mischievous fellow students used to taunt him by referring to him as tehuttur (literally means the number 73) The reason for calling him with this phrase, which was derogatory-laden, was that, in the view of his tormentors, Ahmadiyyat was the seventy-third sect. But he was never unsettled by such disparagement, and in fact put his heart into his studies with even more resolve, gaining distinction in academics and gaining superiority over those miscreants tormentors.

Regardless of how the conditions were outside the home, the environment inside the home put him on the path of an exquisitely fine observation of piety right from childhood, one on which he remained firmly established throughout his life. In this regard, two events from his childhood will be of special interest.

Each of these two events are, in turn, on the one hand a reflection of the intensely refined piety of his uncle (Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub), and on the other hand a reflection of the environment whose far-reaching effects were clearly visible throughout Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s life.

One day, his uncle (Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub) was fasting, and returning from Mansehra to his own village, when the time arrived for stopping the fast. On a journey as he was, he plucked a leaf from a nearby plant and chewed its sour-tasting leaf and in that way concluded his fast, even though, at that time, he had in his possession a small pouch in which were confectionery sweets. He intentionally did not eat those sweets at that time because they had been entrusted to him by Sai Das as a gift for Saeed Ahmad: Viewing it as an entrustment in his possession, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub was mindful of strictly handing it over to his nephew. Although he was aware that the individual who had handed it to him was being merely ceremonial in saying that it was a gift for the child and not in the least that it was for the child alone.

The second incident is like this. During the school vacation, Saeed Ahmad was studying at home, engaged in some reading and writing when Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub happened to pass that way. Noticing a handful of fountain pen nibs on his nephew’s desk, he discerned that they had not been purchased. On asking his nephew, it turned out that one of his classmates had purloined a box full of fountain pen nibs from a bookseller and had distributed those among his classmates, including Saeed Ahmad. Immediately, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub took hold of his nephew’s hand and right there and then—in the hot afternoon—embarked on a six miles-long journey by foot to the neighboring village of Daata and returned the fountain pen nibs to the boy Advising his nephew, he said: “As to whatever you write from stolen fountain pen nibs, it will go—marked as unjust—toward your earnings.

How could the affectionate uncle’s practical life lessons, then, have gone to waste? As a result, Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s personality was a personification of piety.

In Qadian a Second Time

In 1912, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya sent his son—Saeed Ahmad—to Qadian in the company of some religious elders of their village so that he, too, could benefit from the spiritually infused environment of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s town. And it was with this goal in mind that people would often gravitate toward Qadian and its pristine spirituality. This was the time of Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s leadership. Saeed Ahmad was a student in the seventh grade and an intelligent and alert boy. After the zuhr (i.e. mid day) prayer, Maulana Nur-ud-Din used to give the sermon on Sahih Bukhari in Mubarak Mosque. Saeed Ahmad would regularly attend those sermons. His absorption, interest, and regular attendance did not fail to make an impression on Maulana Nur-ud-Din. One day, he inquired into who the boy was? One of the elders from Debgaran, Amir Ullah, answered: “He is the son of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya of Debgaran.” On hearing this, Maulana Nur-ud-Din affectionately reached out and pulled Saeed Ahmad into an embrace and affectionately kissed him, saying: “Why, he is the son of my dear friend [Maulvi Muhammad Yahya], a friend who spent six months with me, nursing me to health, taking care of me day and night. Rendering such services to me which could not have been rendered even by one’s own sister, brother, wife, or children.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad used to recall that incident and remark: “It is my good fortune that a wali’ullah (i.e. friend of God) embraced me with affection. Whenever I turn my mind back to those moments, I vividly recall the sensation of the bristles of Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s beard touching my face.

Third Journey to Qadian, and Enrollment in the High School

The spirituality-infused environment of Qadian had left an indelible impression on Doctor Saeed Ahmad during his childhood. Some of those impressions can be traced to the time he spent in the company of the Promised Messiah, some to Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s affection and his presence—his heart and mind, in sum, were deeply impressed and he had resolved that if he was going to gain further education, then Qadian would be the place where he would need to be for pursuing that education. Moreover, the transfer of the Ahmadi headmaster of Mansehra High School—Sheikh Zia Ullah—had taken place, and the organizational standards of Mansehra High School were no longer what they had been before. Saeed Ahmad began to feel repulsed by the worldly wise environment of that school where he was being especially singled out and targeted for being an Ahmadi and being made the subject of scorn.

After he had completed seventh grade, he expressed to his father (Maulvi Muhammad Yahya) the wish for seeking further education in Qadian. But his father did not agree. However, Saeed Ahmad had resolved that he was going to study in Qadian. A few days later, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya traveled to Qadian to spend the month of Ramadan. At that time, Saeed Ahmad was in Mansehra High School. When he learned about his father‘s travels to Qadian, he set out for Qadian without notifying anyone in his home, with his brief belongings and books and satchel in tow. That night he spent in Abbottabad at the home of Shaikh Noor Ahmad, who was surprised that while the boy’s father (Maulvi Muhammad Yahya) had passed through the town only a day ago, why had he not taken his son along with him. But he did not interfere.

In Saeed Ahmad’s pocket during the trek were a few rupees which would have sufficed to cover the cost of the journey from Abbottabad to Taxila and then from there onto Batala and finally his destination, Qadian. But what happened is that due to torrential rains, the rivulet ahead was flooded with water. The carriage in which he was traveling along with other travelers got stuck in that rivulet. During such times, help from bodybuilders would be enlisted to lift the carriage and then the expenses (of the bodybuilders) would be paid by the travelers. In this way, more money had to be spent and by the time he arrived in Batala, Saeed Ahmad’s pocket was empty.

Nonetheless, he kept his resolve and faithful reliance on the belief that some means would emerge so as to help him to somehow reach Qadian. Now it so happened that during the recent episode in their journey, some drops had gotten sprayed onto one of his fellow traveler’s clothes, a Sikh, causing considerable distress to that traveler. On arriving at a station, he gave Saeed Ahmad a penny, instructing him to fetch a bar of soap with which he intended to wash his clothes. After making the purchase, one paisa was left over, and the Sikh said to him: “You keep this.” Early next morning, the vehicle stopped at the Batala station. Saeed Ahmad now did not have any money to buy a ticket for the carriage, so he started out on foot for Qadian. And with the one paisa that he now had in his pocket, he bought a handful of sugar-coated chickpeas  and stashed those away in his pocket: On his trek by foot to Qadian—at the passage of each mile—he would reach into his pocket, take out a pea, and munch on it. And in this way, the 12 mile journey to Qadian was accomplished. On arrival in Qadian, he was exhausted and starved. While passing through the bazaar, one of the shopkeepers—Nizam Jan, who hailed from Hazara—recognized the boy as the son of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya. Seeing the discomposure on the boy’s face, he immediately discerned that the boy had made a long journey without food. So he immediately served the boy with warm milk suffused with crushed flakes, and then personally took him to Maulvi Muhammad Yahya.

His father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—was deeply upset. He did not say anything to his son and stopped communicating with him. However, he made good arrangements for his son to be fed and nourished early in the mornings, at the time of sehri (the meal prior to beginning the Ramadan fast), and then at iftar (the meal taken at the time of stopping the fast.) 

But Saeed Ahmad had arrived with deep resolve in his heart with the singular goal of being able to study in Qadian, and now the means of that goal’s fulfillment began to emerge. The school was closed due to summer vacation. But a young Muslim student, Abdul Rahman by name, was resident in the boarding house, and Saeed Ahmad got some guidance from him. He had, as yet, not learned to read and write Arabic, and began to do so now. And soon, he became proficient enough in that area so as to come to par with eighth grade students. 

Then, on the day of Eid, his father spoke to him for the first time after a long time, and thus the disagreement between father and son was dispelled. Before leaving Qadian, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya explained to his son, with much gentleness, that being so far away from their home in Debgaran and the circumstances were causing much distress to his mother (Bibi Fatima Noor.) But Saeed Ahmad was not willing to go back home with his father; he was determined to stay in the pure and pristine spiritual environment of Qadian. Unable to thus convince his only son, the father had to lay down arms in fulfillment of his son’s wishes. 

So Maulvi Muhammad Yahya got him enrolled in the Taleem-ul-Islam High School in Qadian. in this connection, Saeed Ahmad had already met with Maulana Sadr-ud-Din and got a letter of recommendation from him. In those days, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din was the headmaster of the high school. The school’s high academic standard as well as active extracurricular activities were a reflection of his excellent organizational abilities. And his treatment of students was exceptionally affectionate and infused with love. Thus, it did not take long for Saeed Ahmad to immerse himself and become a part of the environment. Soon, he began to be counted among the good students.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s Student Days Impressions of Maulana Sadr-ud-Din

During the years 1913 through 1914, I got the opportunities to observe Maulana Sadr-ud-Din closely as he was the headmaster of the high school where I was a student during those years. The impressions cast by his attractive personality during that brief period of time were so indelibly made on my heart and mind that they remain vivid to this day. It would not be an exaggeration to say that during that time, the quality of the high school under his guidance was so high as to be many degrees better than the English medium schools. 

The organization and discipline that he brought to bear on the activities of the school were exemplary. To the best of my knowledge, he never interacted with any student with harshness or sternness. On the contrary, every student was convinced that he was their very own affectionate father. He so adored the students, in fact, that he would take part in the sports of little children, encouraging them all along. This was the reason why the school’s curricular and extracurricular activities were of such a high standard. Not only did he arrange for the secular education of the entire staff and students, he also paid special attention to their moral and religious education. The five daily prayers were observed diligently every day in the mosque associated with the school. And at the time of the late afternoon asr (i.e. late afternoon) prayer, the students would arrive, organized in a line, and sit down to listen to Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s sermons on the Holy Quran. 

It was the result of Maulana Sadr-ud-Din’s personal personality and his personal attention to the school that its fame had spread far and wide such that luminaries such as Allama Iqbal [the poet-philosopher of Pakistan] chose to send his son Aftab Ahmad to Qadian rather than to some public school. Aftab Ahmad was, in fact, my classmate.

One unforgettable scene from the playing fields comes to mind: A sports event took place in the city of Amritsar. It used to be known as the Circle of Sports, and many schools would participate in it. The final of the field hockey matches took place between Qadian School and Khalsa High School of Amritsar. Our team won. When the final whistle was blown, all of our [i.e. Qadian School team’s] field hockey players—wherever they happened to be on the playing field—immediately bowed on the ground in prostration to Allah. This made an indelible impression on the audience. To this day, should our national hockey team win in an international match, they prostrate themselves at the end of the match as a show of gratitude. This tradition originated in Qadian.

(Excerpted from Paigham-e-Sulh, special issue, December 23, 1981)

Other Elders of the Ahmadiyya Movement

His student days in Qadian were infused with spiritual blessings. Where on the one hand he fully benefited from the knowledge of the Holy Quran and Hadith as imparted by Maulana Nur-ud-Din, on the other hand he was blessed with the influence of other leaders of the Ahmadiyya Movement including Maulana Muhammad Ali, Sayyed Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi, Maulana Ghulam Hasan Khan of Peshawar, Sheikh Rahmat Ullah, and Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig in particular, which promoted the growth of his natural abilities.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s Impressions from his Student Days of Maulana Muhammad Ali

I was a student in the Qadian School, and my age at that time would have been 13 or 14. I distinctly remember that this one person—the very embodiment of humbleness and quietness—would arrive in Noor Mosque at the appointed hours and perform his prayers with the utmost attention, devotion, and then quietly leave. When the time came for the Annual Jalsa, I heard that same, quiet person address the community with an appeal for them to make charitable donations. The power and grandeur there was in his words was unmistakable. And what love and devotion it was with which the audience heard his call and answered in the affirmative. I saw such glorious spectacles several times afterwards, too. But that very first one left an especially indelible impression on my heart.

(Excepted from Mujahid-e-Kabir by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui)

Wish to Memorize the Holy Quran

Impressed by the mellifluous recitation of the Holy Quran by one of his classmates—Hafiz Aziz Ullah Shah—Doctor Saeed Ahmad began to memorize long chapters of the Holy Quran such as Surah Al Kahf and became especially inclined to reciting them with excellence in delivery.

Leadership of Prayers

During the summer vacations, he got the opportunity to lead the daily prayers in Debgaran. Usually, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya himself led the prayers. However, one day when the time arrived for the asr prayers, he was unavailable for some reason whereupon other elders of the Ahmadiyya Movement directed Saeed Ahmad to lead the prayers. He has noted: This was the first time that I, a young lad, was leading several old people in prayer. When Maulvi Muhammad Yahya arrived later that day for the maghrib prayers, Malik Ameer Ullah, an elder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, made mention of his son having led the asr prayers. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya expressed his pleasure and gratitude, and in fact asked his son to lead the maghrib prayers as well. Feeling natural hesitation about leading prayers in the presence of his father, Saeed Ahmad—impelled by the sense of duty—stood up and led the prayers. Thereafter, his father instructed, for the remainder of the summer vacations, Saeed Ahmad would be their leader of prayers. Thus, starting at the tender age of 14, he began leading prayers, a practice which he maintained for the rest of his life. In this way, his memorization of the Holy Quran was further promoted.

He had always been impressed by the series of Quranic sermons which he had attended in Qadian. The wish arose in his heart that such a series should also be instituted in Debgaran. And when the series indeed did get started, the wish, too, arose in his heart that the women in Debgaran should also benefit from the Quranic sermons. Now the village head was his mother’s uncle, and thus his grandfather by relation. So his permission was sought in this matter wherefore the solution would be that a small door—one which opened onto the street from the mosque—would serve as the entrance for the women, enabling them to enter and leave the mosque unobtrusively. The village head, who himself was not an Ahmadi. But he gave his permission with these words: “You are our beloved. How can we deny your wish?” But for some reason, the directive never ended up being carried out.

An Oath Taken with his Father

During that period of vacation, another notable and important event which took place was that Saeed Ahmad’s father made a covenant with him that he (Saeed Ahmad) would observe the performance of all daily prayers for the entirety of his life and not miss it for any reason. Doctor Saeed Ahmad has noted the following in this connection: “Since that day, I have carried out my covenant to the fullest extent possible, and I cannot call to mind any prayer that I might have missed—Allah alone knows best.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad took a similar pledge from his grandson Mujahid Ahmad Saeed when he (Mujahid Ahmad Saeed) was about 14 years old. And he is adhering to the pledge with the same zeal as his grandfather’s when he was alive.

The Death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din and Return from Qadian

The period of Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s leadership was replete with countless blessings. And Doctor Saeed Ahmad was deeply influenced by that environment in addition to being enriched by that fountainhead of knowledge and wisdom—Maulana Nur-ud-Din. At any rate, a little while before Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s death, certain elements of that environment had begun a series of subversive activities which, in turn, had begun defiling the pristine spiritual environment. Doctor Saeed Ahmad, possessing the refined temperament and sensibility as he did, could not but sense the untoward development all around. On hearing this thing or that, he sensed something unusual was taking place, but couldn’t quite get to the bottom of what was unfolding. 

On March 13, 1914, Maulana Nur-ud-Din passed away. Following his death, Doctor Saeed Ahmad saw with his own eyes the events that unfolded: Even before the burial of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, the matter of the selection of his khalifa (i.e. successor) was raised. The name of Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud was suggested, along with the exhortation to immediately take the religious pledge at his hands. People tossed their unfurled pugrees (i.e. headwear with a long sheet of cloth wrapped around a stiff, inner turban) and others standing even far away grabbed this corner or that of the unfurled pugree nearest them—in this way, the pledge at the hands of the new khalifa took effect. 

All at once cries rose into the air from every direction: “Congratulations, congratulations, may Mian Sahib be blessed with successorship. Congratulations on successorship”. And in this way, the atmosphere took on a decidedly streetlife-like color. There was noise and uproar everywhere.

Maulana Muhammad Ali stood up to say something but he was immediately—and vociferously—admonished by certain individuals with the words “Sit down, sit down.” This incident took place in the Noor Mosque. Some people did not take the religious pledge at that time, and Doctor Saeed Ahmad was among them. Despite his youthful years, he had a sense for the propriety—or otherwise—of practices and actions. The spiritual atmosphere of Qadian by that time had been altered. And the new successorship, along with the outcomes which accompanied it, were not aligned with Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s temperament. Neither Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s personal affection remained nor those gatherings to learn more about the Holy Quran and the Hadith. Many religious elders of the Ahmadiyya Movement had already left Qadian. In particular, Qadian now stood deprived of the blessings of the person that was Maulana Muhammad Ali, one of those religious elders who had left that town. In sum, Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s heart was no longer in Qadian, and once he had passed the exams of ninth grade, he requested his father that he be allowed to return. On returning, he was enrolled in the tenth grade in Abbottabad High School.

Educational Period in Abbottabad

Taaleem-ul-Islam School of Qadian’s excellent discipline, fine curriculum, and high academic standard endowed Saeed Ahmad with a distinguished personality, which made him stand out in excellence among the classmates of his new school. On one occasion, a British officer visited the school on an examination round and was impressed by Saeed Ahmad’s excellent pronunciation and mastery in general of the English language. So he asked Saeed Ahmad where he had studied prior to his current school. With great pride, he replied that he had attended Taaleem-ul-Islam School in Qadian. 

He lodged in the boarding house associated with the school. His father’s dear friend Shaikh Noor Ahmad—a lawyer by profession—was his mentor. Shaikh Noor Ahmad was a highly refined individual, one sympathetic to humanity, and especially fond of Saeed Ahmad, who would often visit his home. The congregational prayers were regularly performed at his home. In fact, a room in his extensive house was dedicated for this purpose, serving as a mosque. Saeed Ahmad would diligently attend the jumuah (i.e. Friday) congregational prayers which, too, were observed there. In addition, he often spent the weekend—Sunday—at Shaikh Noor Ahmad’s residence. His two elder sons were Saeed Ahmad’s friends, and this friendship remained intact throughout their lives. Shaikh Noor Ahmad’s younger sons and daughters regarded him as their older brother, respectfully calling him “Bhai Jan.”

During his educational period in Abbottabad, several luminaries of the Ahmadiyya Movement would make Abbottabad their residence during summertimes. This practice began in 1915 and continued for a few years. The presence of Maulana Muhammad Ali, Khawaja Kamal-ud-Din, and Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig would lend new life to the liveliness of Abbottabad. And Saeed Ahmad regularly benefitted from attending gatherings where those elders were present. During that period in Abbottabad, another personality which influenced him was that of an Ahmadiyya Movement elder named Shaikh Muzaffar-ud-Din Khan who was resident in connection with his service as the deputy superintendent of the police department. His blessed presence and profound worshipfulness was an especially powerful source of spiritual attraction for Saeed Ahmad.

Educational Period of Islamia College in Peshawar

On graduating from Abbottabad High School with academic distinction, Saeed Ahmad was awarded an annual stipend of Rupees 225. Thereafter, he enrolled in Islamia College in Peshawar in pre-medical track of the FSc (Fellow of Science) program.

Recalling that educational period, Doctor Saeed Ahmad relates that one day—as a part of a practical examination—he was handed a cockroach to dissect and analyze with a view of highlighting its nervous system. Seated before the dissection table, Saeed Ahmad was engrossed in the task when Shaikh Lateef, evidently a fellow student, came over and sarcastically remarked, with much dersion, that his dissected specimen was worthy of the Beli Ram Lamont Medal (a prestigious medal which was awarded by King Edward Medical College to the best candidate in Anatomy.) The work of dissection was incomplete at that time, which might have led Shaikh Lateef to perceive it as less-refined. At any rate, when Saeed Ahmad presented before the British examiner the superbly refined dissected cockroach specimen, the examiner was startled and spontaneously remarked: “Junior has brought a beautiful dissection.”

It is Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s good fortune that throughout his youth and his student days, wherever he happened to be resident, the company of righteous individuals was afforded to him. Thus, while residing in Peshawar, he benefited from the company of Maulana Muhammad Hasan Khan Niazi. In fact, Maulana Muhammad Hasan Khan’s older son—Abdur Rahim Khan, who was commonly known as Lala Abdur Rahim—was serving the appointment as a professor in Islamia College. On the basis of familial closeness, in addition to the ties of Ahmadiyyat, Abdur Rahim Khan looked after Saeed Ahmad. During that period of time, Maulvi Abdur Rahim Khan was afforded many opportunities to closely witness this young, fellow member of the Ahmadiyya community, leading to the development of a close bond with him. The wish arose in Abdur Rahim Khan’s heart to transform this bond into a closer-still familial relationship: To that end, he reached out via written correspondence to Saeed Ahmad’s father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—offering the hand of his younger sister in marriage to Saeed Ahmad. Due to personal reasons, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was unable to accept the proposal. Nonetheless, the love and friendship with the Niazi family remained intact throughout their lifetime.

Maulana Muhammad Hasan Khan Niazi’s younger son—Maulvi Abdur Rahman Niazi—was of the same age as Saeed Ahmad and the two were friends. He would often spend summertimes at his residence in Abbottabad. In fact, Maulvi Abdur Rahman Niazi was present in Dar-us-Saeed in Abbottabad during the crisis of 1974.

A Notable Incident

An extraordinarily transformative event took place in Saeed Ahmad’s life as follows: One night, in the company of friends, he went to see a circus show. Returning late at night, he slept late, waking up only when the sun had already arisen. Thus, not only had he missed performing the fajr (morning) prayer on time, he was also late for college. Saeed Ahmad was perturbed. He immediately did wudhu (ablution), performed the fajr prayers, and—as was his custom—opened the Holy Quran. The page to which the Holy Quran just so happened to open was the location of the first verse of Surah Al-Anbya (Chapter The Prophets):

ٱقْتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمْ وَهُمْ فِى غَفْلَةٍۢ مُّعْرِضُونَ

  Their reckoning draw nigh to men, and they turn away in heedlessness (HQ 21:1)

This one Quranic verse alone sufficed to move him, his heart as ever with a strong affinity for advice: For the rest of his life, he repented, right then and there—and adhered throughout his life—from indulging in viewing any and all such nighttime shows.


It was during those student days that Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s marriage took place with Umm-e-Kulsoom Bibi, daughter of Akhunzaadah Hameed Ullah, a chieftain of Chehrrh. Until his studies had completed and the time leading up to the beginnings of his medical career, his wife stayed with his parents in their village (Debgaran.) Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s eldest daughter—Ayesha Baig—was born during that time.

Educational Period in Lahore (1918 to 1924)

For his medical studies, Doctor Saeed Ahmad enrolled in King Edward Medical College in Lahore. And in this way, once again he found himself in that center where—right in the prime of his youth—he would immensely benefit from the blessed spiritual company of Maulana Muhammad Ali and others. The profound impact of this spiritual influence on the shaping of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s character was prominent.

His Religious and Ahmadiyya Movement Activities

Doctor Saeed Ahmad was a lodger in the hostel associated with King Edward Medical College. Among his close friends there were two fellow medical students, the Ahmadi Muslims Doctor Allah Baksh and Doctor Abdul Aziz Khan. He never allowed the rigors of his medical studies to interfere with his religious activities. With his aforementioned friends, he had built a steady regimen of performing the five daily prayers as a congregation. Every evening, they would participate in the Quranic dars (i.e. reflections.) He also regularly attended the jumuah (i.e. weekly sermon on Fridays), the annual conventions, as well as the various religious functions. His mellifluous recitation of the Holy Quran seldom, if ever, failed to impress attendees of college functions. He enthusiastically read the religious literature of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and in addition would distribute it among college students, introducing them to the Ahmadiyya Movement. It was, in fact, during his student days that Doctor Mirza Rafiq Baig was introduced to Ahmadiyyat, leading to his joining the Ahmadiyya Movement.

The Ahmadi students of those days were the beacon of Islamic pride and among the finest ambassadors of the Ahmadiyya Movement: This was reflected by their religious zeal, their diligent adherence to the values of Islam, their service to the propagation of Islam, their knowledge of other religions, and their refutation of Islamic opponents.

An Incident from his College Hostel Days

Leading up to each of the five daily prayers, the Muslim students in the King Edward Medical College hostel would perform the azan (i.e. call to prayers.) The Hindu students made this a point of contention and raised an outcry. Their plea of opposition reached the British principal of the college, resulting in the azan getting banned. The muezzins (i.e. those who perform the call to the daily prayers), showing weakness, assumed a position of meekness. Saeed Ahmad, along with a few friends, went to seek advice from Maulana Muhammad Ali. He responded with the following words: “How can Muslims ever conform to the order to cease performing the azan? If you all show weakness in this trivial matter, how, then, will you be able to stand up and serve Islam?” The small deputation of Ahmadi Muslim students returned to their college campus with the resolve to defy the principal’s order. Their show of resoluteness led the principal to cancel his ban on performing the azan.

A Letter of Religious Pledge

The following article appeared in the Ahmadiyya Movement magazine Paigham-e-Sulh (March 9, 1924 issue) in connection with Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s religious propagation efforts during his student days:

Letter of Religious Pledge

Saeed Ahmad Khan Sahib is a pious and highly qualified student who is currently attending a medical college in Lahore. Allah has filled his heart—to overflowing—with love for and loyalty to Hazrat Mirza Sahib and the Ahmadiyya Movement. He is occupied at all times with what can be done to strengthen the Ahmadiyya Movement and to help its progress. For some time, he has been unwell and returned to his homeland—Debgaran—to convalesce. Many thanks to Allah for granting him healing from a dangerous illness. He has been helping keep the propagation of Ahmadiyyat alive and well in those regions. And it gladdens our hearts to learn that his efforts are beginning to bear fruit. Thus, his village opponent—a non-Ahmadi—after extensive debates and argumentation, has embraced Ahmadiyyat. His letter pertaining to the religious pledge will be worthy of your perusal. The need of the hour is that other Ahmadi youth, too, cultivate enthusiasm and zeal, such as has been demonstrated by our brother Saeed Ahmad and thereby promote the progress of the Ahmadiyya Movement.

In the blessed presence of Maulvi Sahib—peace and blessings of Allah be upon him with suitable salutations as are worthy of the occasion—I, Rehmatullah, son of Maulvi Sayyed Ahmad, resident of Debgaran, presents the request of my religious pledge, having attended the annual jalsa (i.e. convention.) I used to be one of the most bitter opponents of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Sometimes, I would visit certain landed spiritual inheritors. But what I witnessed in Ahmadiyya Buildings, I never saw anywhere else: Everything I saw was, in sharp contrast, completely different from the image (of Ahmadiyyat) that I had in my mind (of Ahmadiyyat.) Thus, as for the zeal which pervaded that place—Ahmadiyya Buildings—I hadn’t seen anything remotely like it even in my dreams. In short, I came as an opponent, and I left as a supporter.

Were it a matter of relying on one’s deeds alone, I wouldn’t have left without taking the religious pledge. But it so happens sometimes that religious fervor is present in certain individuals who are, nonetheless, entirely deficient in their principles and ideology. My familiarity with the (Ahmadiyya) Movement had been superficial, which is why I had come to [Ahmadiyya Buildings in] Lahore, and on my departure, left determined to carry out an intellectual investigation. The matter of the life and death of Jesus was settled in a single day, thanks to the effort of Doctor Saeed Ahmad. And on accepting that Jesus had died a natural death, I summed up the entire matter—related to the life and death of Jesus—in the shape of three questions…

…and those three questions I took with me from one place to another, visiting numerous maulvis, and found them all unable to answer those questions. I even went to maulvis who were considerably regarded for their knowledge and scholarship, but found nothing in those quarters except prejudice and stubbornness…

…it is with this letter that I settle this matter conclusively as I enter the folds of the Ahmadiyya Movement. And I request that prayers be made for me that Allah grant me steadfastness so that I may, in turn, serve to guide many fortunate souls.

Wassalam, humble writer,

Rahmat Ullah, resident of Debgaran in Hazara

The Award of the Beli Ram Lamont Medal

The days of the (medical college) examinations were fast approaching and on the other hand the impending task of fasting during the month of Ramadan was sure to exact its toll. One day, Saeed Ahmad went to meet Maulana Muhammad Ali, to seek guidance on the matter of one being excused from keeping fasts under the circumstances. In his usual, gentle enunciation, he replied: “Add cilantro to your gravy; it will reduce thirst.

This subtle hint sufficed to clear the matter in Saeed Ahmad’s mind, and he immediately set aside the idea of not fasting in the above mentioned circumstances. Allah granted him a grand success in the exams, and in addition he had the distinction of receiving the Beli Ram Lamont Medal. This medal had been inaugurated in 1908, and it wasn’t until 1920—the year when he gained the distinction—that a Muslim student won that medal. Thus, he was deemed the best candidate in the subject of Anatomy, thereby being awarded the Beli Ram Lamont Medal. And in this way, the name of a Muslim was inscribed on the honor board (on the premises of King Edward Medical College) which was dedicated to recording the names of the award-winners. The Muslim community declared this development as one of great significance, and publicly expressed joy. All praise is for Allah:

[Arabic – add translation…]

Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself has described this particular episode from his life as follows: 

Mounted in the hall of the Anatomy building of King Edward Medical College was an honor board inscribed with the names of students who had won the Beli Ram Lamont Medal, which was awarded to the best candidate in the subject of Anatomy. I was bothered by the fact that no Muslim had won the Medal so far. So I resolved to compete for the Medal.

When the Hindu students learned about my intention, they began mocking and making sarcastic remarks such as: “So a Muslim thinks that he is going to win the Medal.” I was so aggrieved by this mockery that I went to the rooftop of Broome Hostel and bowed down before Allah in a state of prostration. I cried profusely, to the extent that the floor around me was made wet by my tears. Thereafter, I undertook intense preparation for the Anatomy exam, fully aware that I would be competing against Hindu students who would, as it were, “tie their bodhi [hair] and study intensely.

Now the tradition was that the examiners in the Anatomy exam would give the students the choice of being tested in any area [of Anatomy] that they wished to choose. When the time arrived and I was given the choice, I responded with full confidence: “You can examine my knowledge in any area of human anatomy.” As a result, I was handed the most complex part of the human anatomy—the skull—and asked the hardest possible questions imaginable. I was asked to name and identify on the skull all the foramina [i.e. the numerous holes in the human skull through which all the arteries and veins emerge from the brain.] The examiners were highly impressed, and as a result, I became the first Muslim ever to be awarded the Medal. This dealt a blow to the haughtiness of the Hindu students, and I, once again, bowed down before Allah in a state of prostration.

The Students Association for the Propagation of Islam

Under the supervision of Maulana Muhammad Ali, an association was formed for Ahmadi Muslim youth and students, and Doctor Saeed Ahmad was appointed as its first president. This association—it was initially known as the Students Association for the Propagation of Islam and was later renamed to Ahmadiyya Young Men Association—rapidly began participating in activities of the Ahmadiyya Movement. It played a prominent role in the educational and organizational aspects of Ahmadiyya youth. As the president, Saeed Ahmad himself immensely benefited in that his role motivated him to do more and more for the Ahmadiyya Movement.

This is the association—with Saeed Ahmad as its inaugural president being responsible for making it successful—which is active these days under the name Shaban-al-Ahmadiyya.

Publication of a Booklet

During his student days, Saeed Ahmad wrote a brief yet comprehensive booklet, 25 pages in length, titled “Sadaqaat-e-Quran Majeed” in which he—on the basis of rational arguments as well as the longings of human nature—demonstrated the superiority of the Holy Quran over all other Divinely revealed books. This booklet was published in 1923. At its conclusion, he clarified that he had based the entire booklet on Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s book titled Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya. And at the outset—in the Introductory Note—he noted with great enthusiasm the Students Association for the Propagation of Islam, which was formed under the supervision of the Ahmadiyya Movement Ishaat-e-Islam, whose foremost objective it was to present the true picture of Islam before the world. He wrote that it is the Word of God alone wherein lies the secret of Islam’s success, and that this was the goal, too, of the Students Association for the Propagation of Islam. Finally, he brought attention to how one should realize one’s religious duty, and make efforts in the way of Allah so that Allah’s blessings may be directed their way.

Death of Sister in 1923

Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s only sister—Noor Jahan Begum—passed away while she was young, leaving behind two young children. This caused much distress to her brother, affecting his studies, in fact. It was his routine—whenever time came to prepare for college exams—to head over to the wide open expanse afforded by the Lawrence Gardens in Lahore and study in undisturbed seclusion. In noting his sister’s death, he used to say:

After my sister had died, whenever I would to Lawrence Gardens and open my textbook, the image of little Ruqaiya [she was his niece, and wasn’t even a year old at that time] would emerge in my mind—my attention would be diverted from studying, and my heart would become despondent. I would be overcome by grief, trying to come to terms with how this little child would survive without her mother.

His sister died from tuberculosis. He used to say: “I used to pray, ‘O Allah, may this disease not affect anyone again, especially anyone from among my relatives.’ One year later, I myself was afflicted by tuberculosis.

Not only did Allah grant him healing from the disease, thousands of tuberculosis patients were healed after being treated by him. Reflecting on this, he used to say till long thereafter: “Allah granted healing from my hands to thousands of patients. But there was no treatment available when my own sister had tuberculosis.

Footnote: Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s niece Ruqaiya was afflicted by tuberculosis right when she was a youth. He personally treated her medically, and performed surgeries on her. God granted her healing. She went on to marry, and Allah blessed her with pious children. She eventually died when she was approximately 80 years old.

Summer Vacation and Preparation for Exams

With the preparation for his upcoming exams in mind, Saeed Ahmad resided in Abbottabad instead of heading to Debgaran. In Abbottabad, he stayed in a room in the house of Sheikh Nur Ahmad. Following breakfast, he would set out in the morning for a beautiful garden which was located adjacent to a water reservoir whose water served the drinking needs of the town. He always preferred the open air of the outdoors. And in particular, Lawrence Gardens (current-day Bagh-e-Jinnah) in Lahore and the above-mentioned garden in Abbottabad were his favorite places for studying. A household servant would bring lunch for Saeed Ahmad. On occasion, a religious elder of Thathi—Babu Muhammad Sadiq—would bring the meal and spend some time with him. Babu Muhammad Sadiq, too, was resident in the house of Sheikh Nur Ahmad and employed in Abbottabad. Saeed Ahmad would return home in the evening.

Final Year of Medical Studies and Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s Illness

Doctor Saeed Ahmad got ill during the final year of his medical college studies. In those days—in the final year of their medical studies—students had to go to Madras (current-day Chennai) to gain practical instruction in obstetrics. So Doctor Saeed Ahmad, too, went there but during his return from Madras, he became unwell. Fever and cough took on serious intensity. One day, on spitting blood, he went straight to be seen by Colonel Sutherland, the principal of the medical college. Upon being medically examined, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Colonel Sutherland advised Doctor Saeed Ahmad to spend the vacation in a mountainous region. He recommended some physical exercises. He also explained that spending time in the open outdoors was really the available cure for tuberculosis, and that staying in the hot and humid city of Lahore was not inadvisable. 

So Doctor Saeed Ahmad took an extended leave and went to Debgaran. As a precaution, he refrained from living in his own home, and instead had a camp set up for him on a tract of land known as “Thillan”, owned by his family. Whenever he got relief from feverishness, he would start studying his textbooks. His father and uncle—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub, respectively—would come to visit him, though permission to do the same was seldom given to his mother, wife, and other members of his family.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s father himself took care of his son’s medical treatment. He would arrange to have the latest medicines brought in from Lahore. But a specific cure for tuberculosis had not been discovered in those days: The general advice—for curing tuberculosis—was to spend time resting in the open outdoors, supplemented by a good diet. It was through God’s special blessings and through the acceptance of prayers by his parents and other religious elders that he regained health.

Affection and Sympathy from Maulana Muhammad Ali and Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig

Saeed Ahmad stayed in touch with Maulana Muhammad Ali through written correspondence. In fact, Maulana Muhammad Ali’s letters and prayers were an especially strong source of comfort for Saeed Ahmad. Recalling an incident from those days, he has noted:

In those days, I was a student in a medical college and, because of illness, I was spending time on a mountain in my land. Maulana Muhammad Ali regularly wrote letters to me; I derived a great deal of comfort from his letters and prayers. Once he wrote to tell me about how a certain kind of medical shots—the Civil Surgeon of Dalhousie had administered them to a related individual, in fact—had proven effective, and that I, too, should definitely get those medical shots. 

Only a few days had passed when the late Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig shipped a box containing the above-mentioned medical shots. I wrote a letter to Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig, thanking him. He replied that it was Maulana Muhammad Ali who ought to be thanked: It was he who had arranged for the shipment and, in fact, paid for all charges as well. Naturally, all these things left an indelible impression on my heart.

The prayers of religious elders and their tending to his medical needs—both proved effective—and soon Saeed Ahmad was cured, whereupon he returned to Lahore to complete his medical studies.

Preparation for Exams and Incidents of God’s Assistance

When he returned from his homeland to Lahore, his college exams were just around the corner. Meanwhile, he had been able to study the prescribed curriculum in its entirety. But he had lost a full year of medical college—It was under those circumstances that he began preparing for his college exams.

Doctor Allah Baksh, who was a classmate and similar in age to Saeed Ahmad, met him and said: “You will likely do well on the written exams. But have you thought about the practical exams?” This statement produced a level of sadness in Saeed Ahmad, who subsequently headed for the rooftop of the hostel and cried his heart out in supplication to Allah. And in that distressed frame of mind, he requested both his father and uncle—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub, respectively—to pray for him. In response, both father and uncle began fasting, with a view to the belief that Allah accepts  in particular the prayers of those who are fasting.

A few days later, he (Saeed Ahmad) got a letter from his uncle in which he informed his nephew of an ilham (i.e. Divine revelation) that he (his uncle) had received:

[Add Arabic…] We aided him through Angel Gabriel.

And Saeed Ahmad himself continued to beseech Allah from the depth of his heart. One day, he had a dream in which he found himself in the room designated for the practical medical exam—the various medical instruments and paraphernalia all decked in the room—taking the exam. On waking up, he deemed this dream as a sign from Allah, and paid special attention to those portions of his medical texts as had been shown to him in that dream.

In the interim, his father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—was shown by Allah a vision, which he intimated to Saeed Ahmad via written correspondence, as follows: “Maulvi Muhammad Yahya offers me [Saeed Ahmad] a lamp. I respond by saying that I no longer need it. Please give it to Allah Baksh, who does need it.

The way in which this vision was fulfilled was that Doctor Allah Baksh, his classmate, was unable to pass one of the exams, and as a result he had to retake that exam. As for the experience of taking the written exam, Saeed Ahmad sensed as if some unseen power were aiding him during the exam: The questions, in general, were those for which he had fully prepared. And in this way, he was witnessing the dream of his uncle—Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—being fulfilled.

An Incident Reflecting the Special Affection of the Elders of the Ahmadiyya Movement

In an article titled Naqabil-e-Faramosh (i.e. Unforgettable, Or, That Which Cannot be Overlooked), Saeed Ahmad has noted the following incident:

A classmate and I were to take the last one of our medical college exams, and arrived a few minutes late to the examination room of the medical college. The university registrar’s unsympathetic and prejudiced treatment cost us a lot of distress, and there was even the danger that an entire year of our medical studies might be rendered wasted. So we went to meet Maulana Muhammad Ali because we truly regarded him as the most sympathetic soul as well as the center of strength for us. He wrote up a letter and gave it to us, to deliver to Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig. It began with these words from the Holy Quran: 

[Add Arabic verse…]

The impact of the above-mentioned Quranic verse on Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig was so profound that he dropped everything and immediately stood up and headed out in his car to meet a member of the education syndicate who held a high position among the leading Muslims. Hearing unpromising and disheartening words from him caused much distress to Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig, who next headed for the residence of the British principal of the medical college. The British principal provided his full support and Allah resolved our problem for us.

[Add Arabic verse…]

In referring to the above-mentioned incident in Aina-e-Sidq-o-Sifa [i.e. The Mirror of Devotion and Duty]—the biography of Mirza Ayyub Baig and Mirza Yaqub Baig—the biographer (Mirza Masud Baig) has noted:

During the days when our esteemed friend Doctor Saeed Ahmad was studying at the medical college in Lahore, there was danger—all brought about by the prejudiced treatment of a Hindu [official]—that one of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s exams might be rendered wasted (ineffectual?), effectively resulting in his possible overall failure in that exam year. In his distress, he went to meet the late Maulana Muhammad Ali and explained the dilemma to him. In response, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote a letter, one addressed to Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig, and one in which he also wrote the following words from the Holy Quran: 

[Add Arabic verse…]

Doctor Mirza Yaqub Baig got Doctor Saeed Ahmad seated in his car and they immediately drove off to meet Shaikh Sir Abdul Qadir, Khalifa Shuja-ud-Din, Maulvi Muhammad Shafeeh, and other Muslim dignitaries.

Referring to his student days in Lahore, Doctor Saeed Ahmad has written:

“During my stay in Lahore, I had plentiful opportunities to participate in the series of Quranic dars (i.e. sermons) given by Maulana Muhammad Ali in the Ahmadiyya Buildings. I was afforded priceless opportunities to see, hear, and partake of the spiritual blessings by way of attending the Friday congregational prayers, the monthly meetings, the annual jalsa (i.e. convention), etc. Under their guidance, in fact, the Ahmadiyya Young Men Association was formed, and I was appointed as its inaugural president. The aforementioned Association played an influential role in the educational and organizational aspects of the lives of Ahmadi youth, and it served to help move the Ahmadiyya Movement’s objectives forward. Hence, this aspect is an important part of my stay in Lahore.”

On completing the exams for his medical studies, he returned to Debgaran. The result of the exams came and God granted his success. Doctor Allah Baksh was the one who gave him the good news by way of a telegram. Through God’s aid, through prayers by religious elders—along with their sympathetic treatment and their affection shown to him—and in addition also through his own hard work as well, this period of his studies came to a successful completion in 1924, at which time he placed his first step forward in practical life as a certified medical doctor.

2 thoughts on “Chapter Three”

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