First Period (1925 to 1938)
On completing his medical studies, Doctor Saeed Ahmad submitted a request for civil employment. Before he could be appointed to such a position, however, he rented a place in Abbottabad for private medical practice, which soon started flourishing. Not much time had passed, though, when he got an offer of temporary civil employment in Hazara, located in a region near Kot Najeeb Ullah. He accepted the offer and closed his private medical practice.
Three Months in Edgerton Hospital in Peshawar
It is established from the paperwork of Doctor Saeed Ahmad that his first employment was as a civil sub-assistant surgeon—a job paying Rupees 90 per month—between January 6, 1926 and March 23, 1926.
He served in the same hospital—without pay—between March 1, 1926 and February 28, 1926. This employment was temporary. In this way, he remained affiliated with the Edgerton Hospital in Peshawar for a total of three months. He rented a chaubara (similar to a modern day apartment) in the town.
Opportunity to Memorize the Holy Quran
The love of the Holy Quran had permeated Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s consciousness so deeply that wherever he stayed, and for however long he stayed, his attention never deviated from this vital aspect. A hafiz (i.e. one who has memorized the entire Holy Quran) used to teach children the Holy Quran at a location that happened to be along the way between his residence and his hospital. Seeking to partake of this opportunity, Doctor Saeed Ahmad became a student of the hafiz—On his way to his hospital, he would learn his lesson, which he would memorize along the way, and recite to the hafiz on his way home. During that brief period, he memorized the thirtieth chapter of the Holy Quran.
Permanent Employment, and Appointment in Nathiagali
Doctor Saeed Ahmad was sent to Nathiagali for taking up temporary employment on March 23, 1926. But approximately one month later—on April 17, 1926—orders were served to convert it into permanent employment. This hospital in Nathiagali was located in a place known as Mochi Dhara. Within the precincts of the hospital was his small, bungalow-like residence. He arranged for his family to join him there.
Nathiagali is a prime example of the wide-open outdoors. During summertimes, government offices would temporarily be shifted there. His senior-most officer, the Inspector General of the Health Department of the Province of Hazara—Colonel Isherwood Brierley—would also come to Nathiagali. In this way, those British officials got the opportunity to closely observe Doctor Saeed Ahmad at his work, and were immensely impressed by his eminent qualifications, by his enthusiasm, by his refined taste, and by his organizational abilities. The good naturedness of Doctor Saeed Ahmad led to the establishment of cordial relations with Colonel Isherwood Brierley, relations which remained intact for a long time. Similar was the establishment of cordial relations with Muhammad Hasan, the personal assistant of Colonel Isherwood Brierley. Muhammad Hasan was awarded the title of Khan Sahib on the basis of his excellent performance.
During Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s employment in Nathiagali, he often had to travel to Abbottabad. The means of transportation were notably scant. He enjoyed horseback-riding and preferred that as his means of transport. During such journeys, the need would arise to encamp at nighttime, and the convenience of a forest rest house was available for encampment.
The area is unmatched in its natural splendor. Doctor Saeed Ahmad had a sensitive temperament, one which was especially touched by the surrounding natural beauty. Inspired by it, in fact, he felt moved to memorize portions of the Holy Quran, in particular those portions which deal with the creation of the universe and to its beauty as created by its Maker. What follows is an excerpt from his own autobiographical notes:
In that captivating environment, I got the opportunity to memorize those portions of the Holy Quran which pertain to the creation of the universe and its natural beauty. I felt as if the entire natural surroundings were helping me in memorizing Quranic words.
Transfer to the Civil Hospital in Abbottabad (October 1926 to April 1928)
On October 1, 1926, Doctor Saeed Ahmad was transferred to the Civil Hospital in Abbottabad as an assistant surgeon. Here, he stayed for two years. He was given an official residence in the hospital area. His diligence and hard work led to significant improvement in the standard of the hospital. Due to his organizational abilities and his professional excellence, he soon came to be recognized among the best medical practitioners in Hazara. People from far flung regions started coming, seeking to be treated by him.
The acutely refined medical capabilities of his father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—were already famed in those regions, and people would sing the praises of his medical prowess. And the population at large could not see anyone better than his son—Doctor Saeed Ahmad—to whom to turn for getting their medical needs met. His popularity and the devotion of the populace to him were so great that the women coming to seek treatment would head over to his house to present their greetings to the mother of the brilliant and good-natured doctor. Due to the reputation of his high moral character, people would hand over their children—to secure their protection—to his guardianship.
The British officials in charge remained greatly impressed by his performance and by his honesty, and would often express their stellar impressions via written communication.
Series of Quranic Dars in Abbottabad
Sheikh Nur Ahmad’s two sons—Sheikh Aziz Ahmad and Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad—also resided in Abbottabad, and their presence was a source of moral strength for Doctor Saeed Ahmad. Their encouragement led him to start a series of Quranic dars as well as regular congregational prayers at the residence of the above mentioned brothers. The environment was supportive and conducive to the series of Quranic dars. Soon, continuity in the dars was established, enabling people to benefit from it.
Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar
In April 1928, Doctor Saeed Ahmad moved to Peshawar, where he served as the medical superintendent in the Civil Hospital. Then, from January 1929 to September 1932, he had the opportunity to work under the guidance of the renowned and eminently capable Khan Bahadur Doctor Hakeem Ullah Khan. Furthermore, two famed doctors of Peshawar—Doctor Abdus Samad and Doctor Abdul Hakeem—were among Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s contemporaries, and he remained friends with them throughout his life. Certain incidents from this part of his career proved to be a source of his fame and honor, not only earning him commendations from his senior officials, but also establishing his fame—far and wide—among the populace as a capable, skillful, and decent doctor. Those incidents are as follows.
Medical Treatment of the Son of the Nawab of Dir
The son of the Nawab of the state of Dir had been ill. The Nawab requested the Inspector General to send a capable and experienced doctor from Peshawar to come and treat his ailing son. And for this, the Inspector General turned toward Doctor Saeed Ahmad, who set forth on the journey after receiving the official order. He was still en route when a protest from the Nawab’s court was received by the Inspector General to the effect that Khan Bahadur Doctor Hakeem Ullah Khan himself should instead have been sent to treat the ailing boy. The Inspector General responded to the Nawab with the following written communication:
“I have sent an exceptionally good man to attend the Nawab’s son.”
This matter of state, in fact, was of great significance, one whose successful accomplishment was critical. God’s assistance accompanied Doctor Saeed Ahmad throughout: He diagnosed the Nawab’s son through a unique approach and with wisdom, resulting in a correct diagnosis of the boy and a treatment regimen that restored the boy to good health and spirits. And for the rest of his life, the Nawab remained an admirer of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s excellence of conduct and professional acumen. When Doctor Saeed Ahmad returned to Peshawar, the Inspector General greeted him with a smile and said: “The Nawab is positively most impressed and is happy with you.”
The details of the medical treatment of the son of the Nawab of Dir are captivating, so they will be mentioned here with some details: Doctor Saeed Ahmad, even prior to his departure to the state of Dir, was aware of the difficulties that stood in the way of providing medical treatment to the boy. The cherished boy had been spoiled by his doting father, and wouldn’t let any medical practitioner to even so much as touch him, raising a hue and cry if they dared to do so. Neither would he allow anyone to examine him, nor would he take his medicine. The commotion would, in turn, infuriate the Nawab, who would scold the attending medical practitioner. That, in turn, would result in the practitioner leaving the treatment unfinished.
Relying on Allah, Doctor Saeed Ahmad rode a horse and beseeched Allah throughout his journey to Dir. One thing that he observed—one which would help him diagnose the ailment of the Nawab’s son—was the yellow facial complexion of the majority of the children in the Dir area plus the expression on their faces, which was characteristic of individuals with stomach worms.
On reaching the Nawab’s palace, Doctor Saeed Ahmad arranged for the palace staff to move the boy’s bed to a corner of his room, near the door. And he himself sat down on a chair in the verandah adjoining the room, right near its entrance, exuding an air of detachment. In order to get the boy’s attention, he took out his pocket watch—attached to a chain as it was—and began swinging it back-and-forth like a pendulum. The Nawab’s son began watching this action with amazement. Then, lunging forward, the boy sought to grab the watch with both hands, at which time Doctor Saeed Ahmad moved closer and gently placed the watch against the boy’s ear.
Amused by the metronomic tick-tock of the watch, the boy got engrossed in playing. Availing this as an opportune time, Doctor Saeed Ahmad took out his stethoscope and asked: “Would you like to hear the tick-tock sound with it?” The boy was puzzled, whereupon Doctor Saeed Ahmad placed the stethoscope’s ear tip in the boy’s ears and the chestpiece across his own chest. Hearing the heartbeat coming from the stethoscope’s ear tip mesmerized the boy, at which point Doctor Saeed Ahmad asked: “May I listen now?” The boy gave him permission to do so. And in this way—all done in a playful way—he was able to fully examine the boy.
Now, Doctor Saeed Ahmad had brought with him a box containing chocolates and toffees, which he now gave to the boy, one by one. In this way, the doctor and the patient became friends. Then he gave the boy the whole box. Drinking the medicine ceased to be a problem. Seeing the boy happy made the Nawab happy, in turn. Soon enough, having taken the doses of the medicine, the stomach worms were wiped out. In turn, the Nawab’s son once again began to eat and drink normally, and his jaundiced complexion turned red like an apple.
On the completion of the boy’s treatment, the Nawab graciously bid farewell to Doctor Saeed Ahmad with honor and dignity, with gifts aside. And for the rest of his life, the Nawab of Dir remained grateful to him.
Doctor Saeed Ahmad gained immense popularity in the area of Dir, whose residents—both the rich and the poor—now started undertaking the burdens of journey to come and get medical advice from him.
An Incident of Expert Diagnosis
This incident involves a female patient who was under treatment in the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Based on the symptoms, Doctor Saeed Ahmad assessed that the patient had evidently been bitten by a rabid dog. It had not been registered in her medical history that she had, in fact, been bitten by a rabid dog. Nor was this the diagnosis of the other doctor who was in charge. In order to prove his diagnosis, Doctor Saeed Ahmad placed some water—or perhaps it was medicine—in the patient’s mouth, which she spat out immediately, with some of the spit landing on his face and in his eyes. Thus, the diagnosis was proved correct, evident from the patient’s inability to drink. But he himself had to travel to the town of Murree in order to get injections. (In those days, such injections were available in either Kasoli or Murree.)
In Murree, the religious elder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Doctor Sayyed Mohammad Husain Shah himself came to receive him at the bus station. Accompanying him were the other members of the Ahmadiyya Movement. While he was in Murree, Doctor Saeed Ahmad remained a guest of Doctor Sayyed Mohammad Husain Shah, which he regarded as an honor.
An Example of High Moral Courage
Medical forensics-related matters in the city of Peshawar, too, would be referred to Doctor Saeed Ahmad. Once, the nephew of an influential and well-connected man had a dispute with another group. A member of the other group was afterwards brought to the hospital in a severely wounded condition. That aforementioned influential individual himself brought to bear pressure—and had others put pressure—to get the medical report to reflect that merely a minor injury had been sustained by the severely wounded member and in this way weaken the legal case against themselves. But Doctor Saeed Ahmad flatly refused to be coerced by any such pressure tactics. The correct medical report was submitted and the criminal was punished as he should’ve been.
That well-connected man never forgave Doctor Saeed Ahmad, the doctor who did not waver from dispensing his duty with honesty and with even-handedness. As for the former, he—in one way or another—never wasted any opportunity to discomfit the equitable practitioner of medicine. In his place, and throughout his life, Doctor Saeed Ahmad never caved in to any kind of extortion and wholly abstained from anything illegal whatsoever even if it may have benefited him personally. And Allah always gave him honor, and his opponents were unable to wantonly harm him.
Death of Mother on January 9, 1929
On January 9, 1929, Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s mother passed away. A few days prior to her demise, she had come to visit her son—Doctor Saeed Ahmad—in Peshawar. She used to keep voluntary fasts, and was, in fact, fasting the day she passed away from this world’s life. After the iftar that day, she had a small meal. Later that evening, when she stood up for the ishaa’ prayers, she suddenly experienced infirmness and vomited. At that time, Doctor Saeed Ahmad, along with his father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—were away for a dinner reception at the residence of Doctor Hakeem Ullah Khan. Doctor Saeed Ahmad was summoned. On seeing her son, she said only this: “You have come.” And before the able medical practitioners at her bedside could diagnose her ailment and begin her treatment, her soul was ushered away to reside in heaven. Doctor Saeed Ahmad was deeply grieved. But he bore the loss with the nobility of a true believer.
Early in the year 1930, Doctor Saeed Ahmad began sustaining low-grade fever. Gradually, the ailment grew and grew, eventually leading to the diagnosis of phthisis (i.e. pulmonary tuberculosis), a progressive systemic disease which weakens and hollows out the human body, affecting the lungs in particular. In other words, his previous illness—the one which had ailed him during his student days—had now returned. Attending him with great affection and care was Doctor Hakeem Ullah Khan, who never once complained whenever Doctor Saeed Ahmad needed medical leave from time-to-time. He was dear to Doctor Hakeem Ullah Khan, who valued him immensely. And in his place, the Inspector General of the Health Department of the Frontier Province remained impressed by Doctor Saeed Ahmad and by his professional excellence. He wanted to avoid the life of such a highly qualified doctor to go to waste, so he greatly reduced his medical duties—and hence lessened the burden. Meanwhile, the medical treatment (to cure Doctor Saeed Ahmad) continued.
By the middle of the year, when the intense heat of the summer in Peshawar became intolerable for him, he submitted a request for an extended medical leave. On its acceptance, he packed his belongings and set out for Abbottabad.
Among his good friends was Captain Doctor Khaliq Daad, whose father-in-law—Mian Najm-ud-Din—and his family were residing in Abbottabad’s famous Bukhara Palace at that time. Captain Daad suggested that since Doctor Saeed Ahmad didn’t have a house of his own in Abbottabad, he ought to take up residence with his family in Bukhara Palace. Thus, through the aegis of Captain Daad’s introduction to Mian Najm-ud-Din, Doctor Saeed Ahmad took up residence in the vast expanse of Bukhara Palace, inside a tent which was pitched up for him on its palatial lawns. Mian Najm-ud-Din and his family treated him with the utmost affection and in this way some of the days of his intense illness were spent in the company of decidedly caring people, individuals who were the embodiment of love and affection. Even to this day, the bonds of friendship between the two families remain intact.
Even though his health had not yet been fully restored, Doctor Saeed Ahmad nonetheless returned to Peshawar, where he resumed his medical duties in addition to resuming the treatment of his own illness. Then in the summer of 1931, he submitted another request for an extended medical leave. In accepting it, his senior officer made it known to him—by way of a hint—that once his leave ended, he would subsequently be stationed in Mansehra, which would be more conducive to his health. And though he would thereby no longer have the facility to be directly treated by Doctor Hakeem Ullah Khan, it could still be possible for Doctor Saeed Ahmad to get medical directions from the former through written correspondence.
On reaching his village—Debgaran—instead of going and staying in his own home, he chose for his residence a location in the dense jungle of pine trees in the mountain of Bheengra, located to the west of Debgaran. This mountain lies in the region of Phulrah, through the aegis of whose chieftains his residential needs were arranged. His wife and children also moved there.
When people learned that Doctor Saeed Ahmad had taken up residence there, they began coming to seek medical treatment from him. In fact, he performed numerous cataract surgeries during his stay there. Sensing the need for the large number of people with cataracts in their eyes, he arranged for the needed medical instruments to be brought in from Lahore. And by lying down any given patient on a large, slab-like rock—platform-shaped as it was—he carried out cataract surgery on them in the pristine, germ-free air of the pine forest. He performed many successful cataract surgeries. By God’s grace, each and every one of those surgeries was successful.
Bukhara Palace used to be the residence of the Prince of Bukhara, who was in the guardianship and protection of the British Government during his days of exile. He spent the entirety of his exile in Abbottabad. As for Bukhara Palace, while it no longer exists in its original architecture, it is nonetheless still known as Bukhara Palace. But the mosque facing Bukhara Palace—known as Prince’s Mosque—needs no introduction. And in the graveyard adjoining Prince’s Mosque lie buried the bodies of the prince as well as his relatives.
Note—The details were provided by the esteemed Surrayyia Iqbal, who is the grand daughter of Mian Najm-ud-Din and resides in the residence adjoining Prince’s Mosque. Strong ties with Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s family remain intact. She herself was once one of his patients.
Incident of Cataract Surgery
Only a few days into his stay in the jungle in the mountain of Bheengra, Doctor Saeed Ahmad sensed as if the silence was periodically broken by the refrain of “Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo” (i.e. “O Allah, O Allah”), which would reverberate throughout the region. On inquiring, Doctor Saeed Ahmad found out that the source of that refrain was a blind man whose relatives would daily bring him to an opening in the jungle; sitting there—all day long and sometimes even into the night—that man would raise his voice with the refrain. On Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s request, his helper brought to him the blind man who was commonly known as Allah Hoo Baba. Doctor Saeed Ahmad noticed that he had cataracts in his eyes. With that in mind, he had the surgical instruments brought and performed a successful cataract surgery on Allah Hoo Baba. He regained his sight and began working. Following that, many blind individuals would eagerly come to benefit from the healing of the messiah who was blessing unsighted people with sight. And in this way—while he was convalescing from his illness—Doctor Saeed Ahmad got opportunities to serve the populace.
Prayers of Religious Elders, Friends, and Glad Tidings
Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s father, uncle, other religious elders, many other benefactors, and devotees continuously prayed for his recovery, even waking up during the night to beseech Allah with pleas to grant him good health. Individual and collective prayers were thus offered in this regard.
Prayers and Glad Tidings from the President of the Ahmadiyya Movement (Maulana Muhammad Ali)
When Doctor Saeed Ahmad requested Maulana Muhammad Ali to pray for his health, he got the following written reply: “Praying for your health has now become a routine for me.”
Writing about Maulana Muhammad Ali, Doctor Saeed Ahmad has observed:
Once when he (Maulana Muhammad Ali) went into sajdah (i.e. bowed down before Allah in prostration), the following words spontaneously came to his lips: “O Allah, grant healing to my son Saeed.” I said in response, “I have always thought of myself as your son. So it’s a good thing that Allah has certified the same with the aforesaid revelation. This has brought me joy, and I regard it as my immense good fortune that he loved me dearly.”
Throughout his life, Doctor Saeed Ahmad maintained the integrity of that bond of being like his (i.e. Maulana Muhammad Ali’s) own son. He used to refer to his (i.e. Maulana Muhammad Ali’s) wife as “Amma Ji” (i.e. respected mother) and used to say about his daughters that they were his very own sisters. And in the spiritual realm, God certified Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s sonship (of Maulana Muhammad Ali) by placing in his hands the trust of the presidency of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Lahore.
Maulvi Muhammad Yahya’s Prayers and Glad Tidings
For Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, the drawn out sickness of his only son—Doctor Saeed Ahmad—was a potent and constant source of worry. On one occasion, he copiously implored Allah in this regard, submitting the poignant question to His Maker: “O Allah, when will Saeed Ahmad be healed?” In turn, Allah’s Mercy was invoked, and Maulvi Muhammad Yahya received a consoling revelation as follows: “When Bukhari has been read.”
Starting that very day, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya began reading Bukhari (one of the most reliable compilations of Hadith.) He also directed Doctor Saeed Ahmad to do the same. But it took several years to complete a reading of as monumental a book as Bukhari. And the revelation which he had received—“When Bukhari has been read”—was fulfilled in 1938, the year in which a reading of Bukhari was finished.
Prayers and Glad Tidings from Maulvi Abdur Rahman (Thathi)
Maulvi Muhammad Yahya’s family had a long standing friendship with Maulvi Abdur Rahman. He (Maulvi Muhammad Yahya) requested Maulvi Abdur Rahman, too, to pray for the recovery of his son. One night when Maulvi Abdur Rahman was offering the tahujjud prayer (i.e. the “night prayer”, a voluntary prayer) on the rooftop of his house, he prayed for Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s health with these words: “O Allah, grant complete healing to Doctor Saeed Ahmad who is a source of benefit for humanity.” Maulvi Abdur Rahman was repeating these words when he was shown the following in a spiritual vision: Standing in the westward direction and plaintively holding forth her daupatta (i.e. a sheet of cloth which Muslim women traditionally wear to cover their head and bosom), a woman named “Ilahi Nur” loudly says “Ameen” each time he repeats those words. When Maulvi Abdur Rahman related the spiritual vision, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya asked him to continue with his soulful prayers. And when his (i.e. Maulvi Abdur Rahman’s) prayers reached the heavens, the following answer was received: “Bul ji hoe guyya hai.” (The aforesaid words are in the Hindko language, and mean: “He has been healed.”)
Appointment in Mansehra Civil Hospital (September 1932)
In September 1938, at the conclusion of his extended medical leave, Doctor Saeed Ahmad was appointed the in charge of the Mansehra Civil Hospital. This was a small, nondescript, and run-of-the-mill hospital which housed 25 beds for patients. Even the medical instruments were of the most perfunctory kind. Through his natural propensity for refinement and his consistent efforts, that hospital was transformed into a clean and substantial one. The number of patients seeking treatment kept growing, so beds were laid out in the adjoining verandah: The convenience was provided so that nobody had to be disheartened and turned away.
Soon, the hospital was able to provide services for routine surgeries, which Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself performed. Most patients, in fact, demanded that he himself should perform their surgery instead of being referred to some larger hospital: People were convinced—and had full confidence in their belief—that Allah had bestowed Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s hands with the healing touch. He truly was an expert surgeon, one who could wield the most ordinary of medical instruments and, bringing to bear self-confidence, he used to perform all kinds of surgeries par excellence.
An incident from that period of time—one which Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself has narrated—is as follows: An influential individual belonging to that region was brought to the Mansehra Civil Hospital in a grievously wounded state. In addition to innumerable wounds sustained by his body, his stomach had been slit open, with the result that his intestines were bulging out. Without wasting any time, Doctor Saeed Ahmad invoked the name of Allah and began sewing the patient’s wounds. He also provided first aid.
During the course of stitching the wounds, the suturing thread completely ran out. Demonstrating presence of mind, he arranged for silk thread in his household to be brought to the hospital. After getting it sanitized, he resumed his work of sewing the wounds and, following several hours of non-stop effort, all of the wounds had been sutured. And in only a few days, the patient fully recuperated and was discharged to return to his home. In other words, the patient’s survival from the accident was nothing short of a miracle. God’s aid was present and assisted Doctor Saeed Ahmad in having courageously risen to the occasion. Some other doctor might not have even dared to handle such a severely injured patient. Recalling this episode, Doctor Saeed Ahmad added that when this former patient of his met him, he remarked sarcastically: “Very nice, doctor, very nice! You left my finger crooked.” Thus, that man was sorrowful that one of his fingers had been attached in an unaligned position. But he had conveniently forgotten how his life itself had been miraculously saved. This, then, can only be chalked up as an example of extreme ingratitude and unthankfulness. After relating this incident, Doctor Saeed Ahmad used to exhort his listeners to do good purely for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, rather than for earning the gratitude and goodwill of people.
Oppositional Activities of a Group of People, and Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s Steadfastness
A certain strata of people in the region—those with influence and power—often wielded their power to influence the outcomes in their favor and were accustomed to such shameless acts. In particular, such people would seek to obtain false testimonies from medical doctors, testimonies which were contrary to the facts on the ground. Doctor Saeed Ahmad, too, was approached with the goal of getting him to provide false testimony. But when he refused to comply with such wishes, people of the aforesaid type became his opponents, and didn’t even refrain from approaching his senior officers to register complaints against him. They would receive medical treatment from him and then turn around and refer to him in their sermons with words such as “inconsiderate”, “vain”, etc. They also sought to get him transferred to a different place so that the road for them would be paved for installing a doctor who would play yes-man to them and agree to their shameless demands.
Once, a British officer from the district organization mentioned to Doctor Saeed Ahmad—by way of insinuation—that certain chieftains were cross with him. The officer’s unspoken message was to make matters conform to the wishes of those chieftains. Hearing this, Doctor Saeed Ahmad simply replied: “When my Lord is pleased with me, I care not for anyone else being cross with me.”
Hearing this bold reply, that officer realized that his intervention was not going anywhere. On such occasions, the mullahs (i.e. religious clerics) are bound to join hands with influential individuals—How, then, could they have let this opportunity slip away? And they didn’t. The topic of their sermons often was “Mirzai doctor and his waywardness.” In this way, those mullahs would incite the common people and try to turn them against Doctor Saeed Ahmad.
Organizing the Quranic Dars and Congregational Prayers
The activities of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Mansehra were limited. Thanks to Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s efforts, the series Quranic dars was started, and the venue for which was the outer part of the house belonging to Mateeh Ullah Khan and his son Khan Bahadur Ghulam Rabbani Khan. His personality always remained exemplary for his jamaat. Children and elders alike benefited from his company. During his stay in Mansehra—from 1932 to 1937—the Ahmadiyya Movement in Mansehra was transformed into an exemplary organization, worthy of being emulated by the other chapters of the Ahmadiyya Movement in other towns. And it was during his stay in Mansehra that Doctor Saeed Ahmad was made a permanent member of the Mu’timadeen Committee. In his Friday sermon on March 12, 1936, Maulana Muhammad Ali exhorted the congregation with the following words to pray for Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s recovery to good health:
In the end, I wish to pray for an exceptionally devoted member of the Ahmadiyya Movement who is unwell: Doctor Saeed Ahmad in Mansehra. He is true to his name. Seeing him gladdens my soul and moves my heart to beseech Allah to raise youth like him everywhere. Uprightness and devotion are part and parcel of this fine individual. At this time, the chapter of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Mansehra is a model for all chapters of the Ahmadiyya Movement. People ask why the Center of the Ahmadiyya Movement [in Lahore] does not dispatch individuals to their respective chapters? And [they say] that the lack of such individuals is the cause of stagnation in their quarters. In response, I say that they themselves can transform themselves into such individuals. In reality, the executive power of action—in the lives of organizations—comes into existence when individuals from within those organizations submit themselves to the discipline of a rigorous work ethic. At this time, I ask all of you to pray for this fortunate soul [Doctor Saeed Ahmad], and to pray for him at other times, too. May Allah grant him good health and a long life. Certain other individuals, too, are currently unwell, for example Shaikh Abdur Rahman.
(The excerpt above is from the November 23, 1936 issue of Paigham-e-Sulh, that being the flagship magazine of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman, Lahore—Reference: Khutbaat Muhammad Ali 1936, p.530.)
Second Marriage (1933)
Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s second marriage, one marked by great simplicity, took place with his cousin Zainib Bibi in 1933. His father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—himself settled Zainib Bibi in his (i.e. Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s) home, along with Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s little niece Ruqaiya and a little female helper of the same age.
Award of the Khan Sahab Title
Under Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s supervision, the Mansehra Civil Hospital began flourishing. He got plentiful opportunities to serve the people of his native land, and he served them to the utmost of his abilities. Within two or three years, the number of beds in the hospital increased and the facilities also improved.
The Civil Surgeon of Hazara (A. K. Sahibzada) and the senior-most officer of the Health Department of Hazara (the Inspector General) both professed Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s services. Or it should be said that officers senior to him were admirers of his professional skills back during the time of his employment in Peshawar, and great expectations were associated with him. On the basis of services, the government awarded him the Khan Sahab Title in June 1934.
On March 1, 1935 in Peshawar, the governor of the Frontier province decorated Doctor Saeed Ahmad with a medal.
The Inspector General made the following observation in a congratulatory letter to Doctor Saeed Ahmad: “It only seems few years ago, since I promoted you Assistant Surgeon in Nathiagali and now you are a Khan Sahib.”
The Gift to a British Officer of the English Translation of the Holy Quran
Whenever Allah gave Doctor Saeed Ahmad an opportunity to propagate Islam, he availed it by eagerly taking the word of God to others. He had cordial relations with his British officers, and would often gift them with copies of the translation of the Holy Quran. One of his officers—on receiving such a gift—expressed his gratitude as follows:
…I have always intended getting an English translation of the “Koran” & now it has come as a heaven sent gift – neither my wife nor I will ever forget you. I hold you in the greatest esteem & respect not only for your ability as a doctor but also for your honesty & kindly nature. May God bless you & give you health & strength to continue the great humanitarian work which you are doing…
The Suggestion for the Formation of a Sanatorium
In 1934, the decision was made at the high levels of government that a sanatorium should be built somewhere in Hazara, based on the European style of sanatoriums. Hazara was selected on account of its health-giving, wide-open wilderness. The senior officials of the Department of Health were well aware of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s qualifications. With that in mind, they would keep him apprised of all the planning activities for the proposed hospital as well as the suggested program, and they would seek his counsel.
Grief on the Death of his Uncle (April 1934)
His uncle—Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—passed away in April 1934. During his brief illness, he was under Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s medical treatment in the Mansehra Hospital. But he never recovered from a case of pneumonia. Doctor Saeed Ahmad was deeply grieved by his uncle’s death; his death was no less than a trauma for him. His uncle adored him, and in fact loved him more than he loved his own children. Till the end of his life, Doctor Saeed Ahmad rued the fact that, on account of his own illness—one which was accompanied by fever—he was unable to participate in his uncle’s funeral by being one of those who hoisted his body on the way to burial.
Transfer to the Abbottabad Civil Hospital and the Construction of the Sanatorium
In 1937, he was transferred to Abbottabad where he took up residence in his private house which was known as Dar-us-Saeed. The Civil Surgeon of Hazara (Colonel A. K. Sahibzada) reduced Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s medical duties significantly so that he could devote maximum time in connection with the construction of the sanatorium. At that time, the village of Dadar had been selected as the location for the sanatorium, and the construction itself was in its initial stages. In that regard—to get directions and to further discuss—he had to travel to Peshawar multiple times. He attended to all organizational and executive duties with excellence, which included the recruiting of staff, the supply of stores, the organization of the kitchen, arranging for clothes washing, and most of all the arrangement for clean water, those being among the many duties—big and small—in his charge. Given his weak health, such rigorous work wasn’t really appropriate. Nonetheless, he carried out his duties.
Participation in the Post-Graduate Course (January 1938)
At the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in the united India city of Calcutta, a course focused on tuberculosis was inaugurated, and for which Doctor Saeed Ahmad was selected. He proceeded to attend and to thereby acquire expert education in treating tuberculosis. The course began on January 12, 1938 and concluded on February 8, 1938. While the course was brief in duration, it was of great importance. While attending, he got introduced to numerous experts who specialized in the treatment of tuberculosis, and he benefited from their knowledge and skills.
During that course, he showed his own X-rays to a distinguished doctor who advised that his illness could be treated via a surgery for which the facilities were available in the sanatorium located in Madanapalli. He decided to go there and get medical treatment.
Intention to Leave Employment (1938)
In the beginnings of 1938, Doctor Saeed Ahmad sensed that his weak health did not permit him to exert himself vigorously. His weakened body hadn’t been up to absorbing the rigors of the toil involved in overseeing the construction of the Dadar Sanatorium: Now, his illness—tuberculosis—emerged again, causing him concern. So he decided to leave employment and approached Colonel A. K. Sahibzada to discharge him of his duties, also telling him that the duties assigned to him in connection with planning and construction had been completed. Disagreeing with Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s proposal, he replied: “Please dispel this idea from your mind. The Health Department is at this time in great need of a person like you.” Colonel A. K. Sahibzada further consoled and encouraged Doctor Saeed Ahmad with kind remarks about his health.
When this matter was brought to the attention of the Inspector General, he, too, comforted Doctor Saeed Ahmad and disapproved of his proposal to leave employment. Moreover, he further reduced his medical duties.
Nomination as the Medical Superintendent of Dadar Sanatorium
On May 10, 1938, Doctor Saeed Ahmad was nominated as the Medical Superintendent of Dadar Sanatorium.
Medical Leave for Treatment of Health (June 1938)
Following the encouragement by his senior officers as well as the reductions in his medical duties—in view, of course, of his weakened health—he set aside his intent of leaving employment. And in order to seek medical treatment, he firmly resolved to travel to Madanapalli. To that end, he obtained medical leave.
On June 12, 1938, he gave up charge of the Abbottabad Hospital and traveled to Debgaran. On parting with his father and his family, he embarked on a long journey on June 16, 1938, accompanied by his senior wife. Traveling by bus and rail, they reached Lahore. From there onward, they traveled to Delhi by rail, and from there onward by Grand Trunk Express rail. They had to change trains twice along the way. Finally, on June 21, 1938, they reached Madanapalli.
Treatment in the Aurogyawarm Sanatorium
Madanapalli is located in the Chittoor region of Madras. The famous European United Mission of the reigning British Government had founded an institution consisting of three hundred beds. This was the only institution in India where tuberculosis was treated. Doctors from around the nation would come to this institution to seek professional training in the treatment of tuberculosis. The chief officer was an older Danish missionary named Doctor Benjamin who ran the institution with a Western approach.
The name of the sanatorium was Aurogyawarm, a word signifying a place to become healthy. Doctor Saeed Ahmad was admitted into Aurogyawarm around 3:00 PM on June 21, 1938. The initial examination, X-ray, and further tests were done under the supervision of Doctor Mollar. The doctor in charge—Doctor Benjamin—returned from personal leave after a week. The decision was made to conduct the thoracoplasty surgery. The next day, Doctor Saeed Ahmad was transferred from the admission ward to the surgical block.
Surgery and Glad Tidings of Regaining Health
Surgery was performed on Doctor Saeed Ahmad on Monday, June 29, 1938. When he entered the surgery room, the following prayer was on his lips:
This prayer remained on his lips till the end.
Following the conclusion of the surgery, he was brought via a stretcher to the recovery room around 9:00 AM, and as he was being transferred to his bed, the following Quranic words spontaneously came to his lips by way of revelation:
He then regained full consciousness, whereupon he—again, spontaneously—completed reciting aloud the rest of the Quranic verse:
The doctors and other staff treated Doctor Saeed Ahmad with great respect and honor. As a doctor himself, in addition to being the designated medical superintendent of the nation’s other large sanatorium, he was given special importance and great focus was placed on his treatment. Others, too, treated him with hospitality. Thus, he was happy and comforted when Doctor Mollar’s wife had a vase with flowers sent for him.
This revelation which he had received came to grace his final resting place: The rest of his life is an elucidation of this verse. Consider how an individual who had given up hope that he would get to live further—the diagnosis of tuberculosis in those days was like the sounding of the death knell—and who had subsequently decided to leave employment, God then gave a new lease of life to that dead individual, along with opportunities such as which he availed by taking the light of the Holy Quran to the corners of the world. God’s words were fulfilled—word-for-word. It would not be an exaggeration to assert that his life was a miracle of God. And it, too, is the Will of God that His Promise—delivered via revelation to Doctor Saeed Ahmad when he was 37 years old—took another 37 years to fulfill, beginning with the era ushered in with the year 1974.
Request for the Extension of Medical Leave
Doctor Saeed Ahmad was now healthy, but the doctor supervising his treatment—Doctor Benjamin—advised that he needed further rest, and indicated the possibility of another surgery. With that in mind, Doctor Saeed Ahmad requested an extension to his medical leave on July 9, 1938. The request was approved by Doctor Diamond who was at that time the senior-most officer in the Health Department. He also wrote a personal letter.
Inauguration of the Dadar Sanatorium, and the Medical Superintendent Nomination
Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s mind was set at rest by the approval of his request for an extension to his medical leave. Suddenly, however, he received an official correspondence indicating that the Government was seeking to soon inaugurate the Dadar Sanatorium; with that in view, an opening date had been designated; since he (Doctor Saeed Ahmad) needed further time to regain health, Doctor Nazir Ahmad was being nominated as the Medical Superintendent; and finally—again, according to that official correspondence—in addition to the officers of the Health Department, officers from other governmental departments, too, would be invited to Dadar, along with notable people. The opening of the Dadar Sanatorium would be celebrated with great spectacle because doing so was warranted by the monumental and pride-worthy accomplishment.
Relating this episode himself, Doctor Saeed Ahmad has written as follows:
This unexpected turn of event was disheartening for me, which is but natural: Every individual has some aspirations whose realization—as it takes place—brings satisfaction to his or her soul. Thus, I had brought the realization of my vision for the Dadar Sanatorium to its fruition, using all my abilities in the process. So a lot of hopes were tied to it. I considered myself the medical superintendent of the Sanatorium and the doctors as well as other people regarded me as such. While this state of mind remained for a bit, in time I regained calmness. I felt comforted in the knowledge that perhaps Allah wished that I should render work in an enterprise different from this one and which had been destined by Allah. In this way was dispelled the gloom which had descended on my heart. And in its place, utter calmness suffused my mind and my heart. My wife, though, who was with me, was deeply dispirited and began crying. I comforted her, too.
The doctors and other staff of the Madanapalli Sanatorium knew Doctor Saeed Ahmad as the designated medical superintendent of the Dadar Sanatorium. When they learned this news, they declared it as being unbefitting, and expressed their sadness as well as their sympathy.
Delay in the Inauguration of the Dadar Sanatorium
A woman who was undergoing treatment in the Aurogyawarm Sanatorium—her husband would often visit Doctor Saeed Ahmad in the evenings and engage in wide-ranging conversations. Doctor Saeed Ahmad had evidently received the above mentioned, official correspondence after some delay, on July 29, 1938. Then, on the following day, that man—Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s aforementioned visitor—mentioned by the way that flooding in the river Sirran had wiped out the street which served the Dadar Sanatorium.
The very next day, that statement was verified by the famed newspaper—named Hindu—which carried the details of the occurrence. Evidently, due to flooding in the river Sirran, which had resulted from heavy rains, the Shinkyaari-Dadar Road had been destroyed and all access to Dadar had been severed. The entire Dadar region, in fact, had been cut off from the rest of the world. The rainwater had swept away a lot of cattle and products. Lightning strikes had caused loss to human life and to buildings. As a result, the inauguration of the newly-built sanatorium in the Frontier Province had been postponed.
This was the Handiwork of God. How could any human possibly have intervened in it? It’s in the Divine Realm, and God Alone has Power to utterly change the course of human strategizing.
His Second Successful Surgery
Approximately six weeks after Doctor Saeed Ahmad had gone through his first thoracoplasty surgery, the second major thoracoplasty surgery was performed on August 10, 1938. One week after the surgery, on opening the stitches, the doctor expressed his satisfaction in the following words: “Your regaining of health has set a record.”
Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s medical leave was coming to an end. But Doctor Benjamin advised that in order to fully heal, further rest and supervision was needed. Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself felt the need for further rest. Doctor Benjamin issued a medical certificate and he (Doctor Saeed Ahmad) submitted a request to have his medical leave extended by three and a half months. He also resolved that—during his leave—he would get medical training by working in the hospital.
Training to Perform Tuberculosis Surgeries
His doctor—Doctor Benjamin—was recognized as the best surgeon in the area of thoracoplasty surgeries. During the three months or so available to Doctor Saeed Ahmad in his medical leave, he availed the time and began getting training from Doctor Benjamin. Between June 21, 1938 and October 24, 1938, he participated in a course for identifying and treating tuberculosis. Prior to that time, no contemporary of his in the Frontier province had received training of that kind.
Regaining Health and Return
On November 24, 1938, Doctor Saeed Ahmad began his journey from Madanapalli. In the entry in his personal diary for that day are these words: “Started for home.” The five months-long stay away from home had tested his patience as well as that of his family. But when he departed, he left behind him—for evermore—his painful illness.
That, then, was the time for the fulfillment of the revelation which his father—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—had received whereby he had been given the glad tidings that his son (Doctor Saeed Ahmad) would fully regain health “When Bukhari has been read.” Since the day the revelation was received, the two had been studying the Bukhari. All praise is for Allah.
Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s return journey was a pleasant one. Returning with good health to meet his relatives was of great symbolic significance. Therefore, he brought gifts for everyone. He stayed there for a few days.
A Few Months in Peshawar
At the end of his medical leave, Doctor Saeed Ahmad traveled to Peshawar and the senior official. At that time, they did not have a suitable position for him, so he posted him to general duty in his office at the Lady Reading Hospital. This duty involved organizing old, dust-laden official documents. Neither was this work befitting him nor to his liking. Doctor Saeed Ahmad was unhappy but took up the work by reminding himself to be mindful of the adage that all work is honorable. The work of sorting through scattered records and organizing dust-laden files was a trying one. But contrary to the Inspector General’s expectations, he (Doctor Saeed Ahmad) finished the entire job swiftly and presented the result before him. Now the Inspector General was baffled as to what work next could be given to Doctor Saeed Ahmad.
In that brief Peshawar stay of his can be seen the fulfillment of a dream which he had seen in Madanapalli on November 9, 1938, one which he had recorded in his diary as follows:
“I have returned from my leave. In Hazara, a local Hindu civil surgeon assigns me to a small hospital—one for the treatment of tuberculosis—and this assignment is not to my liking. I am resigned to accept it despite my disliking it. Then I tell him that I have been assigned to the Dadar Sanatorium, which amazes him and he drops his idea.”
Doctor Saeed Ahmad was worried about his health. Not much time had passed since his surgery.The heat in Peshawar, along with acute airborne dust were decidedly unsuitable for him. In response to a question from the Inspector General, he suggested his (i.e. Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s) taking up the incomplete work of the Dadar Sanatorium in the following words:
The natural course of events leading to the delay in the opening of the Dadar Sanatorium have provided some reprieve. I think, therefore, that the remaining work should be completed as soon as possible. For example the paint and varnish jobs on the buildings; horticulture jobs for the lawns and plots, correction of pathways; the planting of trees. And even more importantly, the organized provision of electricity and water; the furnishing of furniture; the installation of medical machines and instruments; and the appointment of the medical staff and other workers. These and other such arrangements are time-consuming. If we begin today, it will take three months to accomplish these jobs.
In praising Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s suggestion, the Inspector General said: “Take this matter in your own hands, and go about its completion as you deem fit.”
After departing from Peshawar, he traveled to the Dadar Sanatorium. Then on February 10, 1939, he took charge and got busy with the work that needed to be done. The first period of his professional employment ends here. This was a period in which he worked in various locations, saw the innumerable lows and highs of life, and came face-to-face with the struggles between life-and-death. And while he endured several tragedies, he also was graced by many moments of joy. But one singular aspect—one reality—remained foremost in his mind, and his vision never wavered from its pursuit: religion, faith, activities of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and the carrying out of his duties.
Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself has written as follows in this regard:
Wherever I may have been stationed in connection with my professional employment, I have—by the grace of Allah—intentionally kept in mind such organizational aspects as would enable the performance of the five daily prayers in congregation; gathering for the dars of the Holy Quran; reading from Hadith as well as from the writings of the Promised Messiah; active contact with the Central Anjuman; gaining familiarity with the periodicals and magazines of the Ahmadiyya Movement; becoming aware of the latest [religious] literature; meeting and conferencing with other members of the Ahmadiyya Movement; and keeping the religious education of children active. In this way, a sense of community has been created and, in the atmosphere created thereby, we have been afforded many opportunities to do a thing or two for one another.