Chapter Four

Civil Employment

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.

Infirmness (1930)

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.

[Footnote]

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.

[Footnote]

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:

[Arabic…]

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:

[Arabic…]

He then regained full consciousness, whereupon he—again, spontaneously—completed reciting aloud the rest of the Quranic verse:

[Arabic…]

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.

Footnote: 

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.

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.

Marriage

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.

Chapter Two

A Brief Survey of the Ahmadiyya Movement in the Hazara Region

Hazara used to be a district in the Frontier province of Pakistan. It has now been given the status of a division proper. The land is a beautiful one and its residents given to longevity and slaves to its unique traditions. From a worldly and religious viewpoint, the land has remained under the influence of its chieftains and mullahs. They have been beholden to its deeply ingrained rituals, and remained devotees of its long-standing cultural evolution. As a result, the promotion of the understanding of religion and its incorporation as a living force would appear especially challenging and even an impossibility. But when the assistance of The Divine is present, then the daunting, and even the impossible, becomes possible. Whatever work—wherever, and through whomsoever it is to be performed—once it’s been ordained divinely, avenues for its facilitation open up from the unseen.

Thus, when the invitations to lend an ear to the claims of the spiritual leader of the day, Hazrat Mirza Sahib, echoed in the valleys of the Hazara region, Allah moved through his special Grace and Mercy a few fortunate souls, pulling them in that direction. The first to answer this call was Maulvi Muhammad Yahya of Debgaran. After formally taking the religious pledge, he became active in spreading the message to others with exceptional enthusiasm and zeal. First and foremost, he met, one by one, with those who were among the admirers of his late father, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, and extended a religious invitation to them. And soon enough, a local religious branch of the Ahmadiyya Movement was formed. 

Much as embracing the truth in any era invites difficulties, the difficulties that found themselves invited in that era were no less trying. The fire of opposition began to engulf all. Nonetheless, Allah blessed the efforts of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, and some people accepted Ahmadiyyat and thereafter always stood up for righteousness with great steadfastness, faced difficulties, and never refrained from making any kind of sacrifice.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad makes mention of those elders in his writing titled “The Establishment of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Hazara and General Opposition.” And it was with brevity that it is being presented here. 

Maulana Sayyed Sarwar Shah

Maulana Sayyed Sarwar Shah was a resident of the Khori district of Kashmir and was a major scholar of religion. He was the imam of the Abbottabad Central Mosque. In the beginning, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya took the message of Truth to him. Soon, Maulana Shah relocated to the city of Peshawar, and was appointed to teach Arabic in the Mission College. Allah opened his heart for the acceptance of truth, and he moved to Qadian and was appointed to lead prayers and also appointed as a distinguished teacher of the Ahmadi School. He spent his entire life in Qadian.

The Formation of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in Daata

Daata is a famed village of Hazara. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya went there as a missionary and found that a young student by the name of Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen was already an adherent of the Ahmadiyya Movement. He had taken the pledge of Ahmadiyyat three months ago. Thus, these two individuals proved to be a source of strength for each other. Additionally, he learned that two more individuals had embraced Ahmadiyyat: Sayyed Hayat Ali Shah, the son of Fateh Ali Shah, who was the village head, and Sayyed Sarwar Shah, nephew of Fateh Ali Shah. With great daring, they all faced all kinds of difficulties.

It should be noted that Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen was the father of Master Ibrahim and the grandfather of Bashir Ahmad, the DSP (Deputy Superintendent Police) of Peshawar.

In addition to these individuals, another resident of Daata, Haji Ahmad Deen, a well-to-do land owner, had taken the pledge of Ahmadiyyat. Also, from among the family of scholars of Daata, Maulvi Abdul Ghani and his young nephew, Muhammad Akbar, had the good fortune of embracing Ahmadiyyat. Furthermore, others who entered the folds of the Ahmadiyya Movement were Mian Sayyed Ahmad, a shopkeeper, Mian Gul Hasan, Mian Deen Muhammad, Munshi Muhammad Akram, Baba Allah Deen, and Mian Khair Ullah, who was also known as Khairoo Doctor. In this way, a small organization was established in the village of Daata.

Maulvi  Muhammad Ibrahim, the son of Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen, shared an article in the book titled Yaad e Raftagan (Remembrance of Those Past) which captures the incident of his father’s (i.e. Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen’s) acceptance of Ahmadiyyat. The essence of that article was that Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen was living as a student in Daata. One day, outside the Christian Mission House of Mansehra, he saw a priest showing two pictures to the public. One picture was that of Prophet Jesus, a beautiful picture, and the other picture was that of Prophet Muhammad, portrayed in an extremely vile way. In this way, the priest was trying to prove the superiority of Prophet Jesus, and thereby trying to make people lean toward Christianity. Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen was simply unable to tolerate this disparagement of the Blessed Prophet and began arguing with the priest. Soon, a large gathering assembled, one in which the argument continued till evening.

In the end, the priest wrote down 10 questions and handed them to Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen, instructing him to return with answers the following day. And that if he was unable to answer those questions, then he would have to convert to Christianity. The decision was that on the following day, the residence of Jumuah Khan, magnate of Mansehra, would serve as the venue of the debate. And Jumuah Khan would serve as the judge. Thereafter, Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen sought assistance from his teacher, Maulvi Abdul Karim. On seeing the questions posed by the priest, Maulvi Abdul Karim gave him a book and told him that the answers to all the priest’s questions were to be found in that book. Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen thereafter memorized the answers.

In this way, in squaring off against the well-prepared Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen, the priest was utterly defeated, and the Muslims gained victory. Now, since Maulvi Abdul Karim had torn off the cover page of the book before giving it to Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen, he inquired into the name of the author from his benefactor. He learned that the book was by Maulana Nur-ud-Din, and titled Fasl-al-Khitab. Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen wrote a letter to Maulana Nur-ud-Din and himself went to Qadian and investigated things to his satisfaction. Then in 1896, he gained the distinction of taking the pledge at the hands of Hazrat Mirza Sahib.

Mozah Manglore

The primary and initial helper of instituting the Ahmadiyya Movement in Mozah Mangalore was Maulvi Saeed Ullah who, on account of his profound intellectual accomplishments, is known to this day as the “Sir Sayyed” of the village. When Maulvi Muhammad Yahya brought the message of the mission to him, he immediately realized its truthfulness. Though he was not able to establish a local chapter of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Mozah Mangalore, he assiduously observed the performance of the weekly jumuah prayers in Debgaran by traveling eight miles through mountainous terrain on Fridays.

Mauza Kachi

Mauza Kachi was in the district of Abbottabad, and is presently in the district of Haripur. Residents of that village were among those fortunate enough to identify the message of righteousness, which led to the establishment of a jamaat in Kachi. Those residents included Maulvi Ahmad Ji, Mian Safdar, Fazal, Umar Din, Mian Warris, Sher Khan, Karam Khan, Rahmat Ullah, Yaqub Khan, Mir Zaman, and others.

A letter based on the missionary work of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was published in the Ahmadi newspaper Badr in October 1906, as follows:

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

New Members of the Ahmadiyya Movement

After the tenets of the pledge.

This humble man, Muhammad Yahya, resident of Debgaran, submits salam and blessings of Allah before the Promised Messiah.

The residents of Kachi are eminently pious individuals. Their local religious leader is Maulvi Ahmad Ji, a distinguished and steadfast person. Over a period of six years, he gradually came to understand and embrace the message of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. After him, the person to step forward was Maulvi Abdur Rahman, son of Maulvi Rashid, who, in fact, came to Qadian and spent two months in the company of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. The minds and hearts of those people were thereby further put to rest and ease. Now they are all ready to take the religious pledge, and in fact seek the company of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. And of all those present, their respective letters of pledge were written up. It is requested that Hazrat Mirza Sahib grace those letters with his affirmation and to pray for the pledge-takers. Also requested is that Hazrat Mirza Sahib pray to strengthen their steadfastness; other people in the surrounding regions are opposed to them and resort to mischief.

The names of those seeking to take the religious pledge are as follows:

  1. Maulvi Ahmad Ji, son of Maulvi Muhammad Ji
  2. Fazal son of Hasan Ali Khan
  3. Yaqub Khan
  4. Dawood Khan
  5. Sayyed Jumuah Shah, son of Shah Nur Husain
  6. Muhammad Warris
  7. Faiz Nur, wife of Muhammad Warris
  8. Yusuf son of Muhammad Warris
  9. Sahib Jan, daughter of Muhammad Warris
  10. Zainab, daughter of Muhammad Warris
  11. Maryam, daughter of Muhammad Warris
  12. Saabra, daughter of Muhammad Warris
  13. Sher Khan, son of Sayyed Khan
  14. Khanum Jan, wife of Sher Khan
  15. Abdul Karim, son of Allah Din
  16. Sharaf Nur, wife of abdul Karim
  17. Sher Gul, student
  18. Mullah Aman Ullah, son of Hashim Ali Khan
  19. Muhammad Irfan, son Aman Ullah
  20. Sher Khan, son Aman Ullah
  21. Abdur Rahman, son Sher Khan
  22. Amir Khan, son Sher Khan
  23. Gul Zaman, son Sher Khan
  24. Gul Jan, daughter of Sher Khan
  25. Karam Nur, daughter of Sher Khan
  26. Nur Jehan, daughter of Sher Khan
  27. Mir Zaman, son of Munda Khan
  28. Habib Nur, wife of Fazal
  29. Abdullah, son of Fazal
  30. Illahi, daughter of Fazal
  31. Kala, son of Mir Zaman

—Writer/Compiler, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya

October 1, 1906

Mauza Chehrrh

The ties between two religious families—the one from Chehrrh and the other from Debgaran—were longstanding. These families were disciples of Hazrat Sayyed Ameer Kothay Walay and thus were steeped in spiritual brotherhood. But when Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub took the religious pledge at the hands of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, dissension arose between the two religious families. Akhunzaadah Hameed Ullah and his son Maulvi Abdur Rahman—who was in his own right an eminent religious scholar—was deeply unhappy that the family in Debgaran had embraced Ahmadiyyat. In fact, many arguments took place. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya suggested that Maulvi Abdur Rahman should go to Qadian himself and meet Hazrat Mirza Sahib. Thereupon, Maulvi Abdur Rahman undertook the journey to Qadian and investigated matters to his satisfaction. Thus satisfied, he took the religious pledge and returned home. Akhunzaadah Hameed Ullah, however, remained adamant and did not change his position of opposition. In fact, he severed ties with his son (Maulvi Abdur Rahman.) At the continued insistence of his son, though, he relented and traveled to Qadian in the company of a religious elder of his village named Hamiz Sharaf Uddin. Following a stay in Qadian, he, too, investigated matters to his satisfaction and embraced Ahmadiyyat. On returning home, he left the leadership of the local mosque. In this way, the father and son proved to be an additional source of strength for the Ahmadiyya Movement.

Akhunzaadah Hameed Ullah was the father-in-law of Doctor Saeed Ahmad and the father of Habib ur Rahman Sadiq. He was the grandfather of Arjumand Sadiq and brothers and of Doctor Nazir ul Islam. Maulvi Abdur Rahman was the father of Doctor Nazir ul Islam.

Mauza Thathi

Maulvi Ibrahim of Mauza Thathi, as well as his sons—Muhammad Irfan, Abdul Ghani, Abdur Rahman, and Muhammad Jaan—also embraced Ahmadiyyat. One of those sons (Abdur Rahman) wrote the background of how his father (Maulvi Ibrahim) came to embrace Ahmadiyyat:

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya came on a missionary visit to Thathi to meet my father, Maulvi Ibrahim, and spent the night there. After the fajr prayers, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya began a discussion of Ahmadiyyat. After only a little while, my father said, “Why do you go to such pains to explain? If you were to wake up in the morning and say, ‘O Ibrahim! Today, you will face in the direction of the East to perform your prayers,’ how could it be that Ibrahim as a Muslim would not accept what you tell him? In other words, what you have found to be the truth is indeed the truth. This is sufficient certification in the matter for me. Please hasten and send my request for taking the religious pledge.”

Sayyed Fazal Shah of Swabi Mira Haji Muhammad Din aka Muhammadi of Mauza Charriyaan also entered the folds of Ahmadiyyat in those early days, as did Muhammad Abbas of Mauza Langar.

Mansehra

Muhammad Mateeh Ullah, who was at the time an employee in the Department of Treasury, embraced Ahmadiyyat and courageously faced all opposition. He eventually retired from the position of tehsildar. He was a resident of Mansehra. After living a long and honorable life, he passed away in 1960 at the age of 90 years.

Certain students of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya also took the religious pledge at the hands of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. Their names are as follows: Maulvi Hayat Ullah of Madsiri, Maulvi Abdullah of Banda Khair Ali Khan, Masir Ahmad aka Ji Mullah of Damtaur, Mullah Sher Gul of Kachi, Munshi Abdul Ghaffar of Phulrah, Abdullah, Hakim Ata ur Rahman, Abdul Qadir, all the three brothers from Umb, Abdul Latif, Muhammad Sharif, Muhammad Saeed, all three of village Khairi.

Some Other Personalities

Certain individuals who came from other regions of the country and settled down in Hazara—embracing Ahmadiyyat during that time—included Khan Muhammad Ajab Khan who was a distinguished chieftain of the district of Mardan, and was serving in the position of tehsildar. He was exemplary for his great personality, strength of faith, and high morals.

Sheikh Zia Ullah

Sheikh Zia Ullah was the headmaster of Mansehra High School. He originally came to Mansehra in connection with employment and remained there for a long time. He was a member of a family of lawyers from Gujrat, and was the brother-in-law of Hazrat Shaikh Rahmat Ullah, the owner of the English Warehouse. Sheikh Zia Ullah was an eminently pious, pleasant, and refined individual. His presence provided moral support and strength to the Ahamdi Muslims of Mansehra in that delicate period of time.

Sheikh Nur Ahmad (Attorney)

It was in the year 1901 that an especially valuable personality—Hazrat Shaikh Nur Ahmad—arrived in the city of Abbottabad, which was centrally located in Hazara, and thereby the luck of the city began to shine. Hazrat Shaikh Nur Ahmad selected Abbottabad in view of practicing his lawyer profession. His original land was that of Dharam Kot, Randhawa in the district of Gurdaspur in Eastern Punjab. He had been educated in Aligarh. Prior to relocating to Abbottabad, he had taken the religious pledge at the hands of Hazrat Mirza Sahib and been blessed by remaining in his presence. He was a capable public speaker, a compassionate individual, and eminently pious. He had a passion for Ahmadiyyat. On account of his high morals and his sympathetic outlook on humanity, he had attained distinction in his social circles. Despite religious differences—his sect being Ahmadiyya—he was viewed by all Muslims in Hazara with respect, and considered as the de facto leader of the Muslims in Abbottabad. People would turn to Hazrat Shaikh Nur Ahmad in seeking resolution to any difficulty, and he, in turn, never hesitated from serving them in their times of need. He passed away in 1921 while in the city of Lahore after heart troubles. His body was buried in the graveyard known as Miani Sahib and in a tract (of that graveyard) where other luminaries of the Ahmadiyya Movement lay buried as well.

All four of his sons and daughters attained distinction in society and were individuals of great refinement. Both of his older two sons—Professor Shaikh Aziz Ahmad and Shaikh Muhammad Ahmad—remained associated with the Ahmadiyya Movement till the end of their lives. Shaikh Aziz Ahmad was a professor of zoology in Islamia College in Peshawar, and was highly renowned for his high morals, knowledge, wisdom, and refined conduct. He was unique in his decency, seriousness, and humbleness. He passed away in 1962 while on the premises of Islamia College after some heart troubles.

Hazrat Shaikh Nur Ahmad’s other elder son—Shaikh Muhammad Ahmad—became the inheritor of his father’s law practice and practiced law for a long time as a civil lawyer. Like his father, Shaikh Muhammad Ahmad was a man of great substance. He had great regard for Ahmadiyyat and held it close to his heart, and lived his life with valor. He was held in high esteem throughout his wide sphere of influence on account of his spirit of service and his high morals.

Prior to the construction of the Abbottabad Mosque, the Friday congregational prayers as well as the Eid prayers would be performed at his residence. He passed away in 1962, the same year his brother Shaikh Aziz Ahmad had passed away earlier.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad has written as follows:

Of those mentioned, all lived lives imbued with faith and steadfastness and, having lived long lives, went on to meet their Lord. Most of them left behind inheritors in well-to-do condition, and some of them have the distinction of “the-virtuously-remaining ones.” It’s been my good fortune to see all these extraordinary individuals, and have observed in them qualities which distinguish them from their peers. Their lives fulfill the prophecy of Hazrat Mirza Sahib in a befittingly inspirational way when he had prophesied:

Our flag will be the refuge of every Saeed

And a notable victory will issue forth under our name

Initial Difficulties Faced by the Ahmadiyya Movement in Hazara

We begin with an excerpt from Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s writing titled “The Influence and Establishment of the Ahmadiyya Movement in the Hazara region of Pakistan and the Opposition Thereof”:

In the early days, embracing Ahmadiyyat was like grabbing a burning ember: The flames of rebellion and animosity were flaring up everywhere. However, truth has this certain special quality in that it transforms and transmutes every bitterness into sweetness whereby nothing seems difficult any longer. And the presence of the Reformer of the 14th century, Hazrat Mirza Sahib, was an especially resilient source which helped strengthen the resolve of the nascent Ahmadiyya community. Any time that a difficulty arose or a tribulation afflicted them, they would immediately dispatch letters to his attention. And on receiving soul-satisfying responses from Hazrat Mirza Sahib, hearts would find rest, leading to the departure of fear and sorrow. The mention, therefore, of a handful of incidents from that time at some length will be beneficial and a source of increasing the reader’s faith.

The Formation of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Debgaran and Activities of Opponents

While an organization of devoted Ahmadi Muslims had been established in Debgaran—part of which was a group of youth students who lived in the mosque—a group of opponents had also arisen, their leader being the village head, Malik Mir Ahmad Khan. By relationship, he was Maulvi Muhammad Yahya’s father-in-law and thus a member of his family. They shared a mosque. From time to time, Malik Khan would invite maulvis (i.e. religious clerics) to engage in debates with the Ahmadi Muslims. An especially large-scale debate took place on August 28, 1904. 

Kazi Aziz ur Rahman had arrived from Hindustan with the Dastar-e-Fazeelat, and his fame was at its zenith. As things turned out, he was utterly routed in the debate. Suffering abject defeat, he made an excuse and fled from the debate. From a distance, though, he started fomenting trouble, inciting people by appealing to their lower instincts. As a result of Kazi Aziz ur Rahman’s instigations, a major dissension rose in the mosque of Debgaran on the evening of June 14, 1905: Following a minor disagreement between a non-Ahmadi imam and an Ahmadi student, matters got out of hand and a skirmish took place. Even though the Ahmadi Muslims were far fewer in number than their counterparts, their profound faith—aided by Divine assistance—put them ahead in that skirmish: During that melee, the opponents were the ones who sustained the most injuries. Police arrived the next day, and things assumed a legal nature. Mr. Powell, the deputy commissioner of Hazara, summoned both parties. He himself was about to depart on an extensive official tour. 

To discomfit the two parties, Mr. Powell took them along with him from one place to another on his circuitous route. Ultimately, the legal hearing took place in the town of Balakot. Initially, Mr. Powell kept emphasizing that the Ahmadis should construct for themselves their own mosque, and as an example he pointed out how a Christian sect from England had set up their own church. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, however, refused to relinquish his rights to the mosque. This infuriated Mr. Powell who ordered that Maulvi Muhammad Yahya be handcuffed. As it happened, handcuffs were not available on premise, so a policeman was dispatched from the precinct to get a hold of handcuffs. 

During that interim, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya delivered a speech before Mr. Powell, citing Queen Victoria’s famous proclamation regarding justice and the freedom of religion and creed etc. He also underscored the peculiarly British propensity for justice and truth, and also cited the decision of the Punjab Chief Court as well as the granting to Ahmadis of their own mosques in Sialkot and Jhelum. 

When the policeman returned with handcuffs and approached Maulvi Muhammad Yahya to handcuff him, he smiled and stretched his hands forth, saying that it would be a source of pride for him to get handcuffed. But Mr. Powell stopped the policeman and said with marked emotion: “I do not wish to take away your mosque.” Having said that, Mr. Powell made both groups a party to a bail order, adjudicating that both parties would have equal rights over the mosque. And that whosoever among them caused any dissension, their bail would be confiscated. Following that, no mischief arose in the village of Debgaran.

The Debate of Daata

The debate of Daata occupies an especially important place in the history of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Hazara, distinguished by its profoundness as a source of increasing one’s faith. This event took place on August 12, 1903, and it happened like this: A resident of Daata by the name of Zia ud Din was a patwaari (i.e. deed recorder) in the village of Kokal. He said to Maulvi Muhammad Ibrahim, the imam of the mosque in Kokal, and who was at that time the topmost scholar of Hazara, saying that a major problem had arisen in Daata. And that if they, the scholars, did not nip the problem in the bud, the entire village could well be misguided and misled. As a result of Zia ud Din‘s insinuations, and at the invitation of Fateh Ali Shah, who was the village head in Daata, Maulvi Sahib Kokal arrived in Daata. 

It should be noted here that the son of Fateh Ali Shah, named Hayat Ali Shah, had embraced Ahmadiyyat. Maulvi Sahib Kokal, having recently arrived in Daata, consulted in the matter with Maulvi Abdul Karim, a local maulvi, who was a wise and acutely observant individual, and who frankly counseled: How can you possibly debate with the Ahmadis? Maulvi Sahib Kokal 

replied: We will debate with them on the matters of Nahv and principles. To that, Maulvi Abdul Karim remarked that the Ahmadi would not debate on any matter other than that of the death of Jesus.

That being so because it is the only point of contention and dispute between the two parties. How will you then answer? Maulvi Sahib Kokal replied: The Husaini and Qadri commentaries are available and they support us. Maulvi Abdul Karim replied: Those sources—the Husaini and Qadri commentaries—will be completely inconsequential in this regard. You will have to come up with Quranic references in response to the Quranic references presented by the Ahmadis. Hearing this, Maulvi Sahib Kokal was a bit flustered. And at that moment, he began a debate with Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen who was, of course, an Ahmadi Muslim. However, not much debate had taken place when Maulvi Sahib Kokal remarked that Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen had not received any formal or disciplined scholarship; that he was merely an Urdu speaker and unworthy of the debate. Yes, however, a debate with Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, if he were so inclined, would be worthwhile. 

So Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was invited to debate. He, along with his brother Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—accompanied by Hayat Ullah and Mohammed Din, friends and students—immediately set out for Daata, notifying Maulvi Hameed Ullah of Chehrrh, who also arrived in Daata. These individuals gathered at the residence of Haji Ahmad Ji. As for Maulvi Sahib Kokal, the individuals who came to his aid were Qazi Aziz ur Rahman and Maulvi Muhammad Ishaaq of Mansehra. The debate was to take place the next day. That evening, the religious clerics opposing the Ahmadis practiced for the debate in which Qazi Aziz ur Rahman and Maulvi Muhammad Ishaaq played the role of the Ahmadis.

They presented the argument: [Arabic.] That disproves that all prophets died a natural death.

Maulvi Sahib Kokal: The Arabic alliteration proves that all prophets could not have died. Jesus, therefore, is alive.

Ahmadi: [Arabic.] The Arabic alliteration implies that prophets before Jesus would also be alive.

Maulvi Sahib Kokal: Unable to answer.

Practice for the debate had proceeded only thus far when someone mentioned that an Ahmadi—Maulvi Hayat Ullah—was also present in the audience. Therefore, the debate practice and conversation were immediately brought to a halt.

The next morning, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya wrote down the rules for the debate, whereafter they were taken by three Ahmadi stalwarts—Maulvi Hayat Ullah, and Maulvi Mohammad Din and Hayat Ali Shah—and presented to the opposing maulvis. At the time, six or seven other, non-Ahmadi scholars had already arrived, including the famed Maulvi Khalil-ur-Rahman. The written statement was made up of six conditions. One by one, the maulvis read those conditions. And Maulvi Khalil-ur-Rahman wrote down some answers. Observing the nervousness of the maulvis, Maulvi Ghulam Husain Shah, nick named Pleader Shah, who was also present in the gathering, remarked: “Look, accompanying Maulvi Muhammad Yahya are merely two ordinary students plus his younger brother who is not much of a scholar. When merely a handful of questions has caused such consternation to you, how then will you engage in a debate with Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and compete with his scholarship? He is like an ocean of knowledge. Frankly, when he reads out Arabic text, you will not be able to make heads or tails of it.

This plain-speaking observation by Maulvi Ghulam Husain Shah effectively dissolved the remaining resolve of Maulvi Sahib Kokal and he saw the stratagem of creating a riot as the easy way out instead of engaging in a debate with the Ahmadis. Therefore, after some internal consultation, that group of people went to Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and pronounced: “Your lives are in danger. It would be best for you if you left immediately.” The idea there being that the departure of the Ahmadis would be perceived as their having fled from the debate, thereby signifying the opposing maulvis’ victory.

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya responded that he had been summoned to the debate by Hayat Ali Shah; that he was responsible for their safety; and that until he said otherwise, they could not leave. Then these four individuals went to the chamber of the mosque where Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen was resident. About to confront them outside the mosque were thousands of ignorant individuals who had converged as a mob.

Maulvi Muhammad Yemeen was summoned with the pronouncement: “Come out, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya has arrived to engage in a debate and that the debate is about to begin.” No sooner had he stepped outside the mosque than the mob surged forward to attack him. Barely a few pushes had taken place in the scuffle, though, when two horse-mounted policemen appeared on the scene and dispersed the mob. It seemed as if those riders had either descended from the heavens or emerged out of the earth. 

The sudden arrival on the scene of the policemen so terrorized the mob that they fled the ground, leaving it vacant. In the interim, Divine assistance ground into dust the scheme to assassinate Sayyed Hayat Ali Shah and Sayyed Sarwar Shah. It is said that Hayat Ali Shah’s life was saved by the intervention of the magante of Jaan Bandi Dhoondaan, Ameer Khan. And when one person by the name of Syedan Shah had placed his hand on the neck of Sayyad Sarwar Shah Nandu Khatri that had become the means whereby Allah saved him. 

The background to the miraculous appearance of those two policemen is as follows. The aforementioned Ameer Khan, the magante of Jaan Bandi Dhoondaan, was a staunch friend of Sayyed Hayat Ali Shah and was aware of the looming dangers posed by those opposed to the Ahmadi Muslims. With that in mind, he had sent a clandestine notification to the police precinct in Mansehra. The in-charge of the precinct, Sayyed Ullah Khan, was a friend of Maulvi Hameed Ullah. Thus, in addition to his official responsibility, natural sympathy also moved his heart and he immediately dispatched two policemen on horseback and himself arrived later. So this assistance from the Unseen came to the aid of His devoted servants when they needed it desperately.

When the storm of rebellion had subsided, Sayyed Hayat Ali Shah came to meet Maulvi Muhammad Yahya with a smile on his face, whereupon he (Maulvi Muhammad Yahya) remarked, “Today, Our Powerful Lord has manifested His powers. I had remained intensely sorrowful throughout the night and beseeched God, prostrating myself before the Creator, seeking His help.” Thereupon, he had received these Divine words: “And certainly, Allah helped you in Badr when you were weak.” Maulvi Muhammad Yahya added, “Today, we have seen God with our own eyes.” Thereupon, a state of rapture enveloped the small gathering, and one can only imagine the intensity of the spiritual satisfaction and soulfulness they must have experienced at that time. All glory to Allah and all praise to Allah the Great.

Residents of the area surrounding Debgaran were intensely opposed to Ahmadiyyat, and never wasted any opportunity to cause them distress and trouble, and in fact rejoiced in doing so. A magnate from a nearby town could often be seen riding on his horse in those regions. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya relates that whenever he encountered that magnate, the magnate would close his eyes. This was observed on numerous occasions. Perhaps that magnate considered the annulment of his faith by looking at the face of an Ahmadi. Not much time had passed when that man turned blind and came to be known as “Andha Mian” (i.e. Blind Man.) Maulvi Muhammad Yahya used to say that Allah must have been displeased by this behavior and removed the difficulty of closing the eyes on that magnate by closing them for all times to come.

A similar fate overtook a resident of Chehrrh named Sharaf Uddin. Once he went accompanied by Maulvi Hameed Ullah to Qadian and on returning falsely popularized the notion that, God forbid, Hazrat Mirza Sahib was blind. Perhaps it was this impudence by that man that displeased Allah, because not much time had passed than he became totally blind and spent the rest of his life in darkness. Related by Tahir Sadiq.

Doctor Saeed Ahmad has written:

A magnate from another village was outwardly religiously devout. In addition to fasting assiduously, he had professed and vowed to pray 1,000 voluntary rakahs every day. Well, considering the task of performing 1,000 rakahs in a single day brings to mind the metaphorical image of a hen pecking away. That man, in addition, had outdone everyone else in the region in his opposition to Ahmadis, and in giving them grief. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya presented this matter in the Divine presence for many days whereupon one night he received the following revelation:

26:205 أَفَرَءَيْتَ إِن مَّتَّعْنَـٰهُمْ سِنِينَ

  Seest thou, if We let them enjoy themselves for years,

26:206 ثُمَّ جَآءَهُم مَّا كَانُوا۟ يُوعَدُونَ

  Then that which they are promised comes to them —

26:207 مَآ أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا۟ يُمَتَّعُونَ

  That which they were made to enjoy will not avail them?

—Ash-Shu’ara (The Poets) سُورة الشعراء

After relating this revelation to his friends, he observed that the Arabic word for “years” implies a period of nine years. We would have to patiently wait for nine years. He was satisfied by that revelation. After exactly nine years had passed (since that revelation), that man died during a journey in a solitary state. And it was only after much difficulty that his corpse was identified, and his fate served as a cautionary tale:

36:50 فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ تَوْصِيَةًۭ وَلَآ إِلَىٰٓ أَهْلِهِمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

  So they will not be able to make a bequest, nor will they return to their families.

—Ya-Sin (Ya-Sin) سُورة يسٓ

The events and incidents outlined in the previous few pages demonstrate that Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s special spiritual status and his charisma pulled a few fortunate souls in his direction, bringing about a pure transformation in their lives. Giving preference to faith over worldly matters, they cared not for the curses heaped on them by the world, and they deployed their abilities and resources to the fullest extent in the service of the mission of propagating Islam and steadfastly made sacrifices with great daring and courage. They demonstrated such examples as ought truly to be written with words of gold in the history of Ahmadiyyat. In accordance with the Divine revelation received by Hazrat Mirza Sahib to the effect that “I will cause the numbers of your loyal followers to grow and will bless their souls in their worldly affairs,” Allah indeed especially blessed them, and made them the recipients of the best things of this world‘s life and of the hereafter, blessing both their souls and their worldly affairs. All praise is for Allah.

Truth be told, it was through identifying and embracing the spiritual leader of the era—Hazrat Mirza Sahib—that a few souls from some obscure villages in Hazara became the recipients of Divine blessings. And it was through the Promised Messiah’s Divinely-assisted miracles that their lives underwent an internal, spiritual revolution. They became God’s, and God became theirs. They achieved distinction in both religion and in the world. May Allah grant these pure personalities a special place in the shelter of His Mercy. Amen.

Afterword by Translator

1. In The Beginning…

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
— Sir Winston Churchill (British statesman)

The challenge I see in writing these words is the challenge I imagine would be staring the boy in his face, the one who has stumbled into the candy-store of his dreams: Where to begin?

The wonders I’ve witnessed while along this ride—and the journey continues—engaged in the task of translating into English the monumental, two-volume biography in the Urdu language, is one that has opened vistas I simply couldn’t have imagined when I was signing up for this task, vistas that can’t even be captured by words. Put another way, I speak of the ineffable.

I say so because my aunt, Safia Saeed, has in recent history given us the monumental gift and joy that is the once-in-a-lifetime treasure, the elegantly published, two-volume set that makes up Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s biography, and the beginnings of whose English translation have begun appearing on this website.

So come along with me for a short ride. I’ll take you behind-the-scenes and share glimpses of this translation endeavor. (Think of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s inaugural autograph above from my boyhood autograph book as a taste of things to come in this Afterword.)

In the end, I’ll share why I am purposely making my musings—the Afterword that you are reading—as the literal bookend of this splendid biography, the honor and privilege of whose translation has fallen to my lot.

Meanwhile, speaking of beginnings, where to begin?

Let’s begin at the beginning, and take you back to how I signed up for this work.

2. Signing Up For The Task

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German philosopher)

When I signed up for this work of translating the splendid biography of Doctor Saeed Ahmad, I scarcely had a clue about what I was signing up for. It has, in a very real way, changed my life; it continues to change my life.

Speaking of beginnings as we were a minute ago—and one has to begin somewhere—let’s take you to the setting for when the thought of doing this translation first registered itself in my mind. My sister Naseera Ahmed had mentioned that our aunt, Safia Saeed, was looking for someone to translate the biography from Urdu to English, and that she herself was altogether consumed by some other translation work which would keep her occupied for the foreseeable future. And therein was planted in my mind the seed of an idea.

But I wondered who that translator would be, little knowing that some instinct unbeknownst to me would compel me to sign up for that work. And so it was, a week or two after mulling over the idea in my subconscious—scarcely on the periphery of my imagination—that I called up my aunt, Safia Saeed, and demurely asked if she would permit me to do the work of translation. Her gracious and warm reception—that conversation of ours is etched in my memory for all time to come—set the tone for everything that has followed, for everything that is following.

And that’s how I signed up for this task.

3. The Human Crucible, Or, Back In The Day…

Style is a very simple matter: it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words. …Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it; and in writing (such is my present belief) one has to recapture this, and set this working.
— Virginia Woolf (British writer)

Back in the day—taking you on a stroll down memory lane—the human crucible was being prepared, or assayed if you will, with what was to follow. Put another way, here’s a bit on my background, skills-wise, which I feel is an order so you know what you’re getting with me as your translator.

So I translated one of the three volumes of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s biography, titled The Great Reformer, over the span of 10-plus years. Just to remind you, Hazrat Mirza Sahib was of course the founder of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, a charitable organization which presents Islam as peaceful, tolerant, rational, and inspiring. He was—as his name “Ghulam Ahmad” literally signifies—in the most profound sense of that name an inveterate and most excellent servant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He (i.e. Hazrat Mirza Sahib) was also the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Hadith.

And that’s where I started, translations-wise, with my roots in the translation of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s biography. Coming to the translation of this biography, that of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s “ghulamzaada“—the son of the slave of the great reformer himself, of the “ghulaam” of the Holy Prophet Muhammad—dare I say that the virtuous circle is now completing?

Look, I’m an engineer by training, a computer scientist by profession, and an essayist at heart. My essays can be found online, as can be my published books. But you see, or at least the way I see it, the silos between the areas of human learning and knowledge are entirely arbitrary. Put another way—so that you may know the better what you get with me as your translator—this personal statement is not intended to bore you to tears but merely to put all my cards on the table.

Enough of me.

Moving on to the essence—the subject of this biography, Doctor Saeed Ahmad—I trust that you’ll be regaled and rewarded in personal growth by digging into the pages of the biography proper, whose bookend you’re now reading. But to show you a glimpse into how I recall Doctor Saeed Ahmad to this day, I invite you to linger over the photo I took back in the day, as a schoolboy growing up in the city of Lahore.

And that hitherto unpublished photo is coming right up.

4. A Light By Which He Walked Among The People…

As moonlight shines back at the sun,
he heard the call to come home, and went.
When light returns to its source,
it takes nothing
of what it has illuminated.
— Jelaluddin Rumi (in the translation by Coleman Barks entitled The Essential Rumi — Published by HarperOne)

So there I was, circa 1984, seated on the floor of the mosque alongside fellow Ahmadi Muslims on the occasion of the Annual Jalsa (aka “Annual Convention”) in the cold month of December, our hearts soaking warmth from the heartfelt message being delivered by Doctor Saeed Ahmad. That atmosphere—and I can merely try to describe it, of an enthralled audience, decades ago—sitting on the floor along with fellow Ahmadi Muslims when I took this photo with my cheap, instant 35 mm camera. To educate the younger readers, those of you born and raised in the digital age, I speak here of yesteryears’ cameras, of the kind in which you inserted a film cartridge, took your photos, and which, the film cartridge that is, you then took to a photo shop, dropped it off, and came back a few days to pick up the developed photos.

So yes, if you linger over only one picture in this Afterword, I invite you to make it this one, with the fluorescent tube shaped into a ring, the banner emblazoned with the following words—taken from the sublime verses of rhyme from the Promised Messiah—and, of course, the rapt audience taking it all in, an altogether ineffable admixture of the corporeal and of the otherworldly, the spiritual:

Come, people, for here you will find the Light of God

The light, ah, the light that we saw when he was around, when he walked amongst us. Gone are those day, but the memories stay with us, indelibly.

Ah yes, and he surely invited others to that realm, with a gleaming light in his hand:

أَوَمَن كَانَ مَيْتًۭا فَأَحْيَيْنَـٰهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُۥ نُورًۭا يَمْشِى بِهِۦ فِى ٱلنَّاسِ كَمَن مَّثَلُهُۥ فِى ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍۢ مِّنْهَا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَـٰفِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ
Is he who was dead, then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in darkness whence he cannot come forth?
— The Holy Quran (Al-An’am—The Cattle—6:122)

I loved him immensely. Actually, my use of the past tense there was wholly inaccurate: What kind of a friendship is that one, after all, which ends when this worldly life draws to an end? And thinking here to a remark by Maulana Muhammad Ali about his friendship with his father-in-law—Doctor Basharat Ahmad, the author of the monumental, three-volume biography of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, titled The Great Reformer—after he had passed away.

And yes, Doctor Saeed Ahmad loved me back immensely, much as he loved all of his family members and, indeed, as he loved the universe which had the good fortune, in turn, to be attuned to him.

While physical relationship by itself naturally doesn’t confer any merit on me, I wish to state for the historical record that I am Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s grandson, son of his daughter Khadija Begum.

So the question will naturally arise: How objective can I remain when I speak of someone intensely personal, that being Doctor Saeed Ahmad? Or, whither objectivity? Let’s just say that of him I can say again, without any hesitation whatsoever, that he lived in this world but he was not of it.

Relying now on my innumerable interactions with him—and trying to remain as objective as is humanly possible—I am compelled to say that while he lived in this world, he was not of it. With every breath that he took, his mind and his heart remained exquisitely attuned to His Creator and to the spiritual realm.

And inviting others to the spiritual realm he surely did, throughout his blessed life, with a gleaming light in his hand, with love for the poetry of the Promised Messiah in his heart, and with the missionary zeal which imbued—nay, permeated—his very existence. All that was evident in his speeches, in his writings, and indeed in his unimpeachable life.

5. The Heart Of It All…

We learn about God by sitting in the presence of those who know God.
— Soren Kierkegaard (Swedish philosopher)

Pictured above is an especially precious possession of mine: a copy of the Holy Quran which Doctor Saeed Ahmad used to keep with him. You’ll note, too, some references to various Quranic verses which he had jotted down on the inner flap of the Holy Quran in his elegant handwriting.

And here’s the story of the lovely bookmark which appears in that picture: As I tried to take a photo—with Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s personal copy of the Holy Quran opened to its inner flap—the cover would shut close under its own weight. What to do? Being the engineer that I am, I quickly did some weight induction studies and hit on the brilliant idea: Use the most delicate weight—namely, a suitable bookmark at hand—to weigh down, and thereby keep open, the cover of the Holy Quran.

And this is no ordinary bookmark. You see, it’s a gift from my niece, Ayesha Khan, a medical doctor who travels around the world on humanitarian missions, to its most underprivileged regions, and where she works closely with the people on the ground—healthcare professionals and those who they seek to heal—to help set them on their own feet in a sustainable way.

So yes, Ayesha brought this lovely bookmark back with her for me from one such humanitarian mission, that one being to the Far East, specifically to Cambodia. You’ll note that it features Angkor Wat, a temple complex of monumental proportions.

Speaking of humanity—and turning a bit now to our very humanness—let’s get to the heart of it all: Why do people read biographies in the first place? And here I invite us to look past the gossipy kind of biographies—think celebrities whose fortunes rise and fall like the ebb and tide of the ocean—to the ones of lofty individuals whose lives one wishes to emulate, lives one hopes to glean lessons from and thereby transcend the worldly wise, aiming to mold oneself in the cast of those who had, through their character and personal actions, risen above the fray of the world to show how one can live a life of meaning, purpose, and service to humanity.

With that, I also invite you to hold on to the thought that beginning have—or at least they should have—ends.

6. How Will I Know When It’s Done?

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Let’s ask my cat—pictured above in his usual doldrum ways—what he thinks of style and writing and such. Deep thinker that he is, an answer out of him we just might not get; not anytime soon, anyway. So let’s try me: My relationship with words—and with languages in generals—runs rather deep. Think symbiosis.

But first, how will I know when it’s done? How will we know when the translation is complete so you may read it in its entirety? Do we take inspiration from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s ethereal words above? Wait. Let’s hold our horses, shall we, because we’ve really only begun this (translation) work in earnest in recent memory. So we’ve got a long way to go. Insha’Allah we’ll get there before you—and I—know it.

And afterwords such as this one, after all, are really all about looking back, retrospectively; the catch is that we’re turning this idea on its head, looking ahead prospectively. One day, though, Insha’Allah, the circle will be complete.

Meanwhile, having broached—and I can only wonder if one day I will come to question this—my relationship with words, with writing style, and with languages in general, in all their varieties, allow me to share with you where I’m coming from.

On style and such, I’ve written a monograph or two—well, five to be precise, thus once, twice, thrice, and actually coming back for a fourth time and finally a fifth time—on what I’ve learned over the past decade or so on writing and such.

And on the varieties of the translation experience itself, there is much to say. But having mused elsewhere on exactly that—translation as a “mapping process”—allow me to simply share with you those coordinates.

The challenges here: What do you include? What not to include? And so on.

Meanwhile, I trust that those musings will serve as a good first-order approximation of one person’s conceptualization—my current thinking, that is—of going about the translation process.

7. From Debgaran, A Ring Of Water-Smoothed Stones

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
– John Keats (from Endymion)

Pictured above—an oh-so-tasteful bookmark encircled by a ring of stones—are no ordinary stones: They were picked by hand from the River Siran which runs its course, meandering near the village of Debgaran, the ancestral homeland and ancient village which happens to be the birthplace of Doctor Saeed Ahmad.

The bookmark bears the following message:

Hayat-e-Saeed is being presented with this hope and prayer that may Allah grant us the good fortune of treading in the pious ways of our spiritual elders. Amen, and amen again.

On reading those words, my mind reflexively turned to the following words, words from an especially timeless message delivered by one of our glorious spiritual elders, Maulana Muhammad Ali, when he had advised the youth in his uniquely soulful way how

I will again say to my young friends and say it again and again: keep alive the traditions of your community. Adhere to the Islamic code of morals and behavior, read the Quran, listen to it, ponder over it and act upon it. Make it your mark of identity that you respect the commandments of Islam. address to young people The day will come, for each and every one of your elders, when you will bury their bodies in the ground with your own hands, and your descendants will do the same to your bodies. My young friends, I stress upon you with the greatest emphasis and advise you not to bury your traditions along with the bodies of your elders. Keep them alive and take them forward lest people say that this community is dying away.”
— Paigham Sulh, November 30, 1938

(The passage above is taken from a translation of the biography titled A Mighty Striving: Life and work of Maulana Muhammad Ali—the renowned author, scholar and missionary of Islam—the biography being the work of Muhammad Ahmad with co-author Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui, and having been translated from Urdu by Mrs. Akhtar Jabeen Aziz, revised and edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz.

This undertaking—rendering the English translation—is much larger than me alone, and it is my distinct honor to share details about my dedicated group of reviewers whose feedback is bringing accuracy, clarity, and other vital improvements. They are, in alphabetical order, as follows: Ms. Aaminah Saeed, Doctor Abdul Karim Saeed, Brigadier (Retired) Muhammad Saeed, and—the biographer herself—Ms. Safia Saeed.

Their proofreading and invaluable suggestions continue to improve the translation of Hayat-e-Saeed immensely, which otherwise would’ve been riddled with errors and such. All errors that do remain will, of course, be mine. 

I simply couldn’t end without making heartfelt, grateful mention of my parents—my late father Mansur Ahmad and my mother Khadija Begum—whose care and countless sacrifices have made all the difference in my life. My love for you both is eternal.

In the end, let’s finish with a bookend.

8. Bookend

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
— J.R.R. Tolkien (in The Fellowship of the Rings)

Pictured above—a photo I snapped during a car-ride during a fairly recent trip to Canada—is a glimpse of the picturesque Calgary landscape. And tying this to an observation in the Foreword by Biographer, and how the biographer, Safia Saeed, had begun this work—whose English translation it is my privilege to bring to you—in a room on the second story of our Ahmadiyya mosque next to Darus Saeed (Pakistan) and how the writing of the biography was completed in an idyllic locale, one surrounded by snow-capped mountains in Calgary.

So yes, now the circle is complete.

What I have given you is an ending, an end-note, a bookend, of sorts, and as promised, a beginning if you will. So while this book may have drawn to a close, I would like for you to think of this as really a beginning: The beginning of a personal transformation, one that never ends.

Keeping another promise, one I had made up atop in this musing peppered with bookmarks, bookends, and, if you will, book-beginnings: I purposely sought to make my musings—the Afterword that you’re wrapping up at this time—as the literal bookend to be in harmony with my way of thinking that I am the dust at the feet of Doctor Saeed Ahmad. At any rate, it is my fervent hope that I will be raised in the next life as the dust at his feet. So if the Foreword by Biographer be the head of the body that is the biography proper, may this Afterword serve as its feet.

Let us end—and really, let’s look ahead to an inner transformation and beginning—with the message below from Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself, with the words which he had inscribed with a fountain pen in my boyhood autograph book on June 30, 1978.) One more time, and this time with emotion,

We learn about God by sitting in the presence of those who know God.
— Soren Kierkegaard (Swedish philosopher)

O Allah, may You be very well pleased with Doctor Saeed Ahmad. O Allah, may You have Mercy on us, those he left behind to carry on the message of faith. And may our lives be lit with the light of faith, burning bright. Amen.

Chapter One

Family Background

Ancestral Homeland

Debgaran is the name of the ancient village, which is the birthplace of Doctor Saeed Ahmad, winner of the prestigious Sitara-e-Khidmat (the Star of Meritorious Service award), a well known personality, a renowned physician, and the third president of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Located in the Northwestern frontier of Pakistan—and currently known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—specifically in the district of Mansehra, this village is approximately four or five km west of Mansehra, nestled in the midst of small hills in a beautiful cuplike formation, right in the middle of an open stretch of land. To its east is Mansehra and toward its west is a village by the name of Badra. To the north and to the south are villages by the name of  Sheikhabad and Julloo. A little distance away from the town, approximately 2 km away, flows the river Sirran across from which—and referring here to the time before the partition of the Indian Subcontinent into India and Pakistan—there were small, independent states by the name of Parhanna, Phulrah, and others, all of which are now a part of Pakistan.Toward the west is the mountain of Bheengra, which is home to an immense forest of pine trees and the seat of a most salubrious environment.

The original name of Debgaran was Devi Garan, which, through a gradual series of linguistic transformations, finally came to be called Debgaran. In the north of the village is a hill, atop which stands a pillar-like stone formation. And close to it is another rocket-like formation, in existence since time immemorial, and which had come to be known as Khalli Gutti. This rock was considered by Hindus as an especially auspicious entity, and accorded the status of a god by them. On their festivals, in fact, the Hindus would come and worship those stones and seek blessings while gathered around them. And it was perhaps the affiliation with their god-like endowment that this town came to be known as Debgaran. However, curiously enough, Hindus never made this village their home.

To the south of the village is a small stream across which is a hill whereupon are to be found the ruins of a fortress, known by the name of Kotla. This fortress is associated with Sikhs, and memorializes the era in which Sikhs were the rulers in the area.

The majority of the inhabitants of Debgaran belong to the Awan nation, and the individuals are known by their distinct familial names. Hindko is the name of the language spoken by all in the village. Agriculture happens to be the occupation of the majority of the people. The climate is moderate, and conducive to the growth of all kinds of crops. However, since the crops are heavily dependent on rain-water, people typically prefer to grow wheat, corn, as well as some lentils. In some low-lying areas where water reservoirs are to be found, the crop of rice can also be found. While there is no systematic cultivation of fruit orchards, there can be found trees bearing figs, pears, apricots, plums, and peaches. In addition, grapevines can occasionally be spotted as well.

Until the end of the 19th century, there was no systematic establishment of an educational system in the area. People were typically unlettered. This was the time when a pious elder—Hafiz Mohammad Saeed—came to Debgaran and settled down. Through his blessed presence and pious industriousness, this village gained a distinction among all the villages for being a beacon of religious as well as secular education. This pious elder was the paternal grandfather of Doctor Saeed Ahmad.

Ancestors of Doctor Saeed Ahmad

Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s ancestors belonged to the Awan nation whose progenitor is believed to be Hazrat Qutab Shah Baba, who was a venerable religious missionary as well as a strong army general. Several different names have been noted for him in the records of history: In some places, he is referred to as Malik Qutab-ud-Din Husain; in other places as Qutab Shah; and in yet other places as Qutab Salar or Mir Qutab.

The Awan family settled in the district of Hazara is known as the Qutab Shahi Awan. Reliable historical references prove that Qutab Shah was a descendent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s blessed caliph Hazrat Ali’s second wife, Hazrat Khola binte Jaafar Hanafiyyah’s son Hazrat Muhammad Al-Akbar’s son Hazrat Ali bin Muhammad Al-Akbar. It should be noted that all of Hazrat Ali’s descendents were known by the family name Alvi. But in the historical records of the fifth or perhaps sixth century Hijrah, the descendents of Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Fatima came to be known by the family name Sayyed, while those not descended from Hazrat Fatima came to be known by the family name Alvi. (Hazrat Khola binte Jaafar Hanifiyya belonged to the Hanafiyyah tribe and therefore she was known by that title.)

Qutab Shah was Arabian by descent and was the chief of his tribe in Herat as well as the surrounding regions. His descendents were known by the name Awan, and Malik Sher Muhammad Khan Awan—the compiler of the historical record known as Tareekh Al-Awan—has the following remarkable record of the origin of how the title Awan came to be endowed on Qutab Shah and his descendents:

Sultan Mahmood called for the gathering of troops in Hindustan (i.e. the Indian Subcontinent) to counter and quell the gathering storm of unbelief and rebellion in the region. In this connection, Mir Qutab Shah—along with the troops of his tribe—met with Sultan Mahmood, explaining that he was making himself available along with his troops to gain permission and blessings to participate in the jihad. Sultan Mahmood said in response: May the peace of Allah be on you, Qutab Shah. Just as the residents of Medina had provided full support to the Blessed Prophet Mohammad and thereby gained the title of ‘Ansar,’ you and your nation have today come here to offer your support, without any fear of death, and I hereby give the title of ‘Awan’ to you.”

(Tareekh-e-Awan, compiled by Muhabbat Husain, pp. 330-331)

In sum, those among the nation of the Alvi family who assisted Sultan Mahmood in his meritorious battles were given the title of Awan, being the title which was designated for and associated with the descendents of Qutab Shah.

Thus, the Awan family is Arabian by descent, this having been proved and established by historical facts and research. Further testifying to this are their traditions, their physical stature, ways of living, etc. It should be mentioned that merely living in Herat and Ghazni and surrounding regions for centuries does not establish them as being Turkish by descent or Persian by descent or Afghan by descent.

It is established from the family tree of the Awans of the Indian subcontinent, as well as from written and oral traditions, that out of the 11 sons of Qutab Shah was one by the name of Muzammil Ali Kalgan who was the first born child of Bibi Zainab. And Baba Sajawal, buried in Kharkot, is from the descendents of Muzammil Ali Kalgan who is considered by the Awan of Hazara as their progenitor. His mazar (i.e. tomb) has remained a source of attraction for the populace. Later on, when the Tarbela (Water) Dam was being constructed, presenting the concomitant danger of the mazar getting submerged, the mazar was—through the unanimous consent of the Awan nation—relocated to Shaheelia in the district of Mansehra. Thus, from the history of Hazara in general and that of the rural regions in particular, the facts that come to the fore lead us to believe that the Awan people have been living here since ancient times and that it is through the industrious activities of the elders of their community that Islam was propagated in the region.

The future generations which descended from Baba Sajawal got divided into numerous branches and castes. Thus, for example, the children of Baba Sajawal’s son Shad are known as Shadwal. Similarly, among the grandchildren of Baba Sajawal was one Baba Khiyya. The families descended from him are known as Khiyyal. They inhabit villages in the regions of the Mansehra district, especially those of Chanja, Debgaran, Jalloo, Shaheelia, Balhag, Timmarkhola, etc. Doctor Saeed Ahmad belonged to the Khiyyal branch of the Awan.

(The research by the compiler of Tareekh-e-Awan declared it to be the most authentic family tree and it is no different from the one which Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself had inscribed in his diary, and the one which is in possession of the family branch which is settled in the village of Jalloo.)

Hafiz Maulana Mohammad Saeed

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s father, Mullah Khan Baz, lived in a village of the district of Hazara named Murat Mera. He had two brothers named Mohammad Qasim and Mohammad Asim. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was especially renowned for his profound knowledge, his rigorous adherence to the principles of Islam, and for his piety. At the request of the dignitaries of the village of Debgaran, he moved to Debgaran, taking up permanent residence in that village. His brother Mohammad Qasim came to a nearby village named Jalloo and settled there. However, his other brother, Mohammad Asim, remained back in his homeland.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was one of the select disciples of Hazrat Sayyed Ameer Kothay Walay. On account of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s rigorous adherence to the principles of Islam, his exemplary character, and his distinguished knowledge, Hazrat Sayyed Ameer had appointed him as one of his caliphs. Thus, he was one of his four caliphs. In fact, he had instructed his disciples in the village and in the nearby areas that they should go directly to Hafiz Mohammad Saeed with their concerns and requests for prayer instead of undertaking the trouble of traveling the long distance to reach him (i.e. Hazrat Sayyed Ameer) in Kotha.

Among Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s many devotees were dignitaries and chieftains. These included the chieftains of Parhinnah and Phulrah. As an expression of their devotion, the chieftains of Parhinnah had earmarked for him a village in the state. All of the grainary and crops grown in that village were harvested and delivered to him. After his death, his sons—due to their profound self-respect and their wish to avoid erring on the side of taking any advantage in even the slightest way whatsoever—did not pay attention to this tradition, and thus that tradition came to an end. The cordial relationship between the family and those dignitaries and chieftains, however, remained intact as ever. The circle of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s disciples was wide; his disciples were to be found in Kashmir and Kaghan, too, in fact.

Kotha Sharif is situated near the village of Topi in the district of the Frontier province. The sphere of influence of one of its residents, Hazrat Sayyed Ameer Kothay Walay, extended far and wide. He was truly among the wali’ullah (i.e. friends of God), and an eminently lofty individual of the spiritual firmament. Some elders, in fact, considered him as one of the mujaddids (i.e. reformers) of the 13th century Hijrah. His emphasis used to be on strict adherence to the honest means of earning one’s livelihood. And he would learn through spiritual visions if there were any shortcomings on the part of an individual in this regard. He would usually refrain from dining at the residence of civil servants because of the concern that their earnings might be tainted by the practice of unscrupulous means.

In the tradition since time immemorial, he, too, was declared an unbeliever: A verdict of unbelief was passed against him. A facsimile of one of his letters in this regard, in which he addressed the scholars, is available. It sheds light on his beliefs. The children of Hazrat Sayyed Ameer are among the dignitaries of the Frontier province and belong to the Sahibzada family. Sir Abdul Quyyum, the founder of Islamia College, was from his progeny. He was known as the Sir Sayyed of the Frontier province.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed himself was a recipient of divine revelations, among the wali’ullah (i.e. friends of God), a spiritually lofty individual, and a scholar of high attainment. Many extraordinary achievements were associated with him. He would often go to meet his spiritual leader, Hazrat Sayyed Ameer. And the spiritual coloration of his leader in his personality was distinctly apparent. His understanding of the Holy Quran, like his leader’s, was unique and unrivaled. The belief of Hazrat Sayyed Ameer regarding the appearance of the Messiah differed from those commonly held by the populace. He truly understood the meaning latent in the phrase that “your leader will be from among you.” In this regard, in 1292 according to the Hijri calendar, Hazrat Sayyed Ameer had prophesied that the Mahdi had been born. He said:

 “Our era has now passed. Now, the era of the Mahdi has begun.

Upon inquiry from his disciples in this regard, Hazrat Sayyed Ameer remarked, “His language will be Punjabi.” (From Hayat-e-Hasan (i.e. A Good Life), by Abdullah Jaan Niazi, p. 170.)

In the latter half of the 19th century, people were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Messiah because that would have been in accordance with the predictions found in the Hadith. The 14th century Hijrah was about to commence. Taking note of that, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed used to make mention of the matter. And in accordance with the saying that “your leader will be from among you,” he awaited the appearance of the Mahdi, and believed that he would be from within the Muslim nation. It was truly in this regard that the seeds were sown of his family’s acceptance of Ahmadiyyat, well before the arrival of the Mahdi.

One evening, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was performing ablution in preparation for the maghrib (evening) prayer in his village when he saw the moon in the sky. This was the month of Muharram, and it was the new moon. He said to the mosque’s muezzin (i.e. the worshiper who calls other worshippers to prayer), Mullah Safdar: “Today, the 14th century Hijri begins. The time for the appearance of the Mahdi draws near. Perhaps we, too, may live in the times of the Mahdi.”

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed passed away in 1307 Hijrah and thus this wish of his remained unfulfilled. However, one of his scholarly friends from the village of Dheri, which was near the town of Havalian, had mentioned to him that in the province of Punjab, an individual had written a magnificent book titled Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya in support of Islam, and in which the author proved the superiority and truthfulness of Islam as compared to other religions, and also invited the followers of other religions to come and debate the merits with him. On hearing this, he said, “Such an individual is eminently blessed. And a visit should be paid to that individual.

The Contents of Hazrat Sayyed Ameer’s Statement

Whosoever firmly held the beliefs of Ahle Sunnat, they surely achieved deliverance. And whosoever opposed it, they surely transgressed and were deluded.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful

All praises for Allah Who made us to be among the nation of the Final Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.) And from His Grace, He made us of the Ahle Sunnat and kept us away from Rafziyyat, Shiite, and the rebellious. He safeguarded us from the Mot’zilla, from Ilhad (i.e. irreligiousness, denial of God, atheism, etc.), as well as the fate of those who drift away from religion. We send blessings and peace upon the Great Prophet who was raised for the entire humanity and who was granted the teachings of the Holy Quran. Peace and blessings be on his children and on his sahaba (i.e. Companions) who vanquished—with arrows and swords—the mulhideen and those who brought innovation into religion. After this, of those who invite others to Allah is Sayyed Ameer of the village of Kotha in the district of Yousaf Zai in the region of Peshawar and who Allah blessed with His love and His pleasure. It is our manifest and latent belief—we believe this with our heart and profess it with our tongue—that He is One in his Being and in His Qualities. There is none to be associated with Him. He raises all to life and He makes them enter death. And He has no limits, He is not attended by age or countenance or state or direction or location. Allah has no body. Neither does He have any manifest appearance nor does He have any Fashioner. He is Holy and Sacrosanct and He is above the characteristics of His creation. The qualities of God, like His Being, have been in existence since time immemorial. The qualities of God are eternal and they are free of all faults. God Alone is the Creator of everything, and He grants us our very existence.

And that which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad—the Messenger of Allah—via the Holy Quran is truly just. We believe in it in its entirety and in its comprehensiveness. And the beliefs which the Messenger of God and his Companions had, those are our beliefs; that prophethood came to an end with Prophet Mohammad; and that no prophet will be raised after him, and anyone claiming prophethood thus is an unbeliever.

We believe that the revelations given to prophets ended with the Blessed Prophet. And that prophets are superior to the wali’ullah (i.e. friends of God), and anyone professing beliefs to the contrary is an unbeliever; that prophethood is a blessing which cannot be earned by anyone solely through their efforts; and that schools of religion are the following four: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafai, and Humbali. In our view, Imam Abu Hanifa‘s school of religion is the most excellent one in terms of principles and dispensation. There is consensus on this in that reproaching and insulting the prophets is tantamount to unbelief. Reproaching with harsh words, insultingly criticizing, or condemning the Shaikheen (i.e. Hazrat Abubakar and Hazrat Omar) and other Companions of the Holy Prophet and similarly Imam Abu Hanifa and others. If, however, it is on the basis of some valid grounds, then it is unitarily not tantamount to unbelief: In fact, it would help in correcting erroneous understanding of Islamic jurisprudence.

But if this condemnation is without a solid basis or proof, then it is tantamount to unbelief. There is a difference of opinion about the condemnation or reproaching of shaikheen (i.e. Hazrat Abubakar and Hazrat Omar.) This includes the Ahle Fatwa (i.e. individuals who are authorized to give rulings on Islamic laws) who are of the view that it is unbelief. But according to the Mutakalimeen, specifically their two books—Aqaid e Sharah (i.e. an interpretation of beliefs) and Maulana Ali Al Qari’s Fiqh Akbar (i.e. his book of interpretation of jurisprudence)—it has no basis to be deemed as being tantamount to unbelief. 

Slandering of Hazrat Ayesha is collectively and unanimously considered as being tantamount to unbelief. And that sadaqat (i.e. acts of charity) and prayers both reach those who have passed away from this world. Whosoever rejects the validity of these benefits, they are the Mot’zilla

There is a difference, too, in the opinion about viewing or witnessing God in dreams or visions. According to some, it is permissible and according to others it is not, provided that it takes place without state or direction or location, and that and it is not permissible otherwise. Some say that this is permissible if God‘s glory and greatness are not being called into question in any way. This was said to be correct by Iman Nawavvy, Imam Ghazali, and Abdul Haq Dehlvi, who all said that the consummation of faith and belief in the glory and greatness of God is essential. And that the visitation of graves is a tradition of the Holy Prophet—with the intention to pray for the souls of those who have passed away—as a reminder of our mortality, and (to appease) the sorrows in the heart. The Blessed Prophet used to visit graves. There is a difference in opinion regarding seeking help from those who have passed away. There is also merit in these justifications. And on this I end.

So whosoever attributes anything other than what has been stated above, they then engage in deceit and slander. They deviate and they transgress. Peace be on those who follow the path of righteousness and on those who repudiate innovation in religion. And peace be upon the Unlettered Prophet and on his Companions and on those who are inclined toward knowledge and guidance and its pursuit.

Two Important Incidents from the Life of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Advice to his Children

Two events in the life of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s numerous spiritual and intellectual attainments proved to be the source of paving the way for his children’s acceptance of Ahmadiyyat. Now, it was common among the intellectuals of that time to have a stamp prepared in their name—etched on the embossing nugget on a ring—which they would then use for imprinting their name on letters as well as on other communications. On one occasion, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed said to his son Maulvi Muhammad Yahya: “When you have your embossing stamp prepared, have the following words etched onto it”:

يَـٰيَحْيَىٰ خُذِ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ بِقُوَّةٍۢ ۖ 

O John, take hold of the Book with strength (Holy Quran, 19:12)

The other incident is regarding his will. A few days prior to his demise, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed severed his connections with the world and became engrossed in the remembrance of God in preparation for the final journey to the afterlife. His two sons—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—repeatedly insisted that he share with them some words of advice in his will. At their insistence, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed got their pledge that after he had done so, they would not insist anymore, and only on that condition would he share some words of advice with them. He said:

I have prayed profusely in your favor. It is my hope that Allah will not let you go to waste. Hold firmly to the Holy Quran and do not run after those traders. (He was referring to the landed religious clerics of the time.) The appearance of the spiritual imam of the age is about to take place, so when you find him, you should run to him, and never for a moment pay any attention to the insults of those who dwell in this world.

Again, in those sage words of advice for his sons, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was referring to the landed clergy of the time when he used the word “traders”.

Spiritual Status of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed

After Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s demise, his sons selected a tract of land at a distance of a few furlongs from their residence, that tract of land being known by the name Sadhoo. They designated that area for the family’s graveyard. Following Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s burial, his disciples wanted to set up a solidly built mazaar (i.e. shrine) at his gravesite, but his sons disallowed them from doing so, and also did not allow them to set up a tombstone at his grave.

Even in the lifetime of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, people were well aware of the loftiness of his spiritual status. But it was after he had passed away that God established through witnesses further testimony to that loftiness.

Syed Asadullah Shah, a spiritual elder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and who was himself a recipient of divine revelations and visions, once went to the graveyard of Debgaran and, after having prayed for the souls of the departed, remarked on returning that he saw light everywhere. Following that, and during the remainder of his stay in Debgaran, he stayed as a guest of Doctor Saeed Ahmad. Each morning, after the morning prayer, Syed Asadullah Shah would head over to the graveyard and stand for a long time at the side of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s grave: Seven times he would recite Surah Yasin and offer prayers. He remarked, “I saw spiritual light in that grave. I have visited the graves of many spiritually elevated elders but never witnessed or felt that state anywhere else.

When Syed Asadullah Shah returned to Debgaran after one year, he headed for the graveyard in Sadhoo. On returning, he said, “Today, a strange incident took place: While I was still on the road near the graveyard, I saw in a vision that Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was approaching me. Then he embraced me and said, ‘The remaining difference in my status from that of prophets—that gap—has now been closed, thanks to your prayers for me over the past one year.’ And I sensed that it was an expression of his gratitude.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s high spiritual status is also attested to by another spiritual elder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. In Abdullah Jaan Niazi’s book Hayat-e-Hasan (i.e. A Good Life), which is the biography of his father Ghulam Hasan Khan Niazi, he wrote, “Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was a practitioner of religious devoutness. He was a resident of Debgaran. One day, he invited my father (Ghulam Hasan Khan Niazi.) whereupon my father and another Ahmadi Muslim friend, Mirza Sultan Ahmad went to Debgaran and also visited the graveyard where they prayed and, pointing in the direction of two graves, he said: ‘These two spiritual elders are in an excellent state.‘ Maulvi Muhammad Yahya said that one of them was the grave of his father and that the other grave was of his uncle.”

It should be noted that, in that graveyard, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya’s uncle was actually not buried. It may be that the author—in his above-mentioned reference—had meant Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s uncle, Maulvi Mohammad Yaqub.

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub

Where Allah had granted Hafiz Mohammad Saeed with innumerable blessings, He had also blessed him with two most honorable sons. They were obedient to their father, rendered much service to their mother, and were profusely enlivened with the knowledge and practice of both spiritual and worldly skills. They were unrivaled in religiosity, knowledge, and piety. The affection that the two brothers had for each other was so strong as to make them inseparable. It was as if the two were one being and two hearts. So it is obligatory that they both be mentioned with the same breath. Both brothers were a wellspring of bountiful knowledge as well as being individuals of sterling character, indomitable resolution, and stoic work ethic. Their honesty, their righteousness, their keeping of promises, and their refinement of temperament were well established. Nonetheless, the brothers had unique personalities.

The older brother—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—in addition to being acutely intelligent, wise and stoic, was serious by temperament and a man of few words. On the other hand, the younger brother—Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—was tenderhearted, affable, philanthropic, cheerful, and quick-witted. The older brother was inclined toward measured speech that was leavened by strong supporting arguments for the logic whereas the younger brother’s conversational style was suffused by wit and humor, which would win the hearts of people with the result that all, young and old, naturally gravitated toward conversing with him casually.

Among those who esteemed them highly was an educated and refined Hindu by the name of Bakshi Champat Rai, who wrote about them as follows:

Debgaran is in reality Deva Garan, and in the Sanskrit language, Deva is the term for an angel and the term Garan means village or small town. It is possible that at one time Deva or angels used to live here. Regardless of whether others have seen angels here or not, I have in my time seen two angels in this village, Debgaran, with my own eyes.

He was, of course, referring to the two brothers. And it is a fact that those two individuals, despite being inhabitants of this world, were, because of their deeds and their highly refined habits, so easily distinguishable from others and so unique in their qualities, that they appeared to be not of this world but of a different and transcendent one altogether.

Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman himself was raised in his childhood under their eyes and thus had plentiful opportunities to witness the two brothers closely. And in his unpublished autobiography, he wrote as follows:

I do not have the words with which to paint a physical and spiritual picture of these two individuals who had found God during this very life on the earth. You simply cannot reach the depths of their pure lives. In the eyes of all, they were ordinary people who ate, drank, walked among others, and attended to their daily routines diligently. But they were not of this world. They were unique in their personalities, and such a serene glow of spirituality exuded from their faces as being indescribable. An extraterrestrial light, as it were, emanated from their foreheads. Their gait was measured and infused with humbleness. Their conversation was suffused by mellifluous intonation as if somebody had stirred sweet honey in their speech. They were, each in their own right, an ocean of knowledge whose surface might be placid, yet whose depths were laden with the commotion of priceless pearls, pearls of wisdom too numerous to be counted. They themselves were spiritually alive and, like a live wire, would transmit spiritual life to those who came into contact with them. They were in sum, angels who trod on this earth.”

When Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was about six years old, his father Hafiz Mohammad Saeed took him to meet his spiritual leader, Hazrat Sayyed Ameer Kothay Walay who, in states of spiritual trance, was known to give focused attention to the disciple in his presence. So when Hazrat Sayyed Ameer gave attention to the young boy—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—he was compelled to spontaneously exclaim in his Pashto language: “He is the possessor of great qualities.

And Allah fulfilled, word-for-word, the exclamation of that spiritual luminary regarding Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, who proved to be unique and distinguished in the areas of judgment, contemplation, worshipfulness, and meditation.

He was a devoutly worshipful individual, waking up in the nights to worship His Creator. After a 15 years period of constant effort, he memorized the Holy Quran in its entirety. He would perform the tahujjud prayer (i.e. the “night prayer”, a voluntary prayer) diligently, spending hours in the worshipful state of qiyam. And  when he went into prostration before God, the entire prayer area would be left drenched by his tears shed while beseeching God. His humble and profound supplications would invoke Allah’s Mercy, with the result that his prayers would be answered and his pleas accepted. Referring to this profound worshipfulness, his son Doctor Saeed Ahmad writes as follows:

Once when he (Maulvi Muhammad Yahya) became ill, I used to sleep in the same room as he. As soon as half the night had passed, the sounds of my father’s recitation of the Holy Quran,  accompanied by his crying, could be heard. And I would feel embarrassed by my weakness and would rise up as well.

And similar were the worshipful routines practiced by Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub. By temperament, he was a tenderhearted individual, and he, too, would perform profound supplications, beseeching Allah’s mercy. Oftentimes, he would spend time after the morning prayer on the banks of the stream, offering voluntary prayers. On the edge of that stream were tall cliffs. To this day, they stand witness to the prayers of his blessed father, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. In fact, people at large still refer to those tall cliffs as “Namazi Guttay” or “Namazi Pathar” (i.e. prayerful rocks.)

Doctor Mubarak of the village of Sussal, wrote an essay titled “Debgaran ka Muaalij Khandan” (i.e. the Medical Family of Debgaran) which he noted the following:

The late Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was not only an illustrious hakeem of his time, but also a unique individual who had reached the highest levels of serving humanity. Numerous members of his family—hakeems and medical practitioners—had an extremely close relationship with the state of Umb Darband. The chieftains of Umb Darband and Phulrah relied on this renowned family of hakeems and medical practitioners for its medical needs. They possessed expertise in the Greek medical practices of the previous century as well as allopathic  medicine.

These two spiritual personalities—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—where they were famed for their familial sagacity, righteousness, knowledge and grace,  they were also exceptionally skilled medical practitioners as well as being individuals whose prayers were answered by The Divine. Without distinction, the commoners and the dignitaries, sultans and chieftains all were within their sphere of influence, being indebted to the brothers’ spiritual and medicinal services. People would often undertake long journeys to seek their services, and they themselves would travel to take their services to the people themselves. In this regard, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya would be the one most often undertaking such journeys while Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub would stay in Debgaran, overseeing all organizational needs. He also took care of attending to the orphans, taking under his wing all those who were in dire circumstances, all those who were without the means to fend for themselves. Their house was a safe haven where the needy would find peace and help.

The brothers never charged the people of Debgaran or the poor or friends and relatives for the medical services rendered to them. Yet God never left the brothers in a state of financial need. The dignitaries and chieftains and other landed officials of the region would seek their medical services and, in return, compensate them with funds, gifts, and granary. And oftentimes, on other occasions as well, they would continue to send gifts to their quarters.

Doctor Mubarak has written thus:

I have heard Doctor Saeed Ahmad narrate the following incident: Once, the Nawab of Umb, Khan Zaman Khan, fell ill whereupon an English doctor from Lahore, accompanied by Doctor Mirza Yaqub, arrived to attend to his health. On not regaining health soon enough, Khan Zaman Khan insisted that Maulvi Muhammad Yahya himself be summoned to attend to his health. Thereupon, Khan Zaman Khan’s assistant immediately got on a horse and galloped away, arrived in Debgaran, and then on the return journey to Umb, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Khan Zaman Khan’s assistant arrived back on his steed, having completed a long journey. By that time, Khan Zaman Khan had retired to his sleeping chambers, so Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was instructed to rest for the night before attending to his patient. In turn, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya prayed all night long, beseeching His Lord earnestly—the situation at hand being that the latest medical care offered thus far to Khan Zaman Khan had failed—for guidance in this matter and thereby save and maintain the honor of his acumen in medical practice. Allah answered his supplications through a Divine revelation by way of two words: “Murmun” and “Influenza.

In this way, he was divinely informed of the medical diagnosis as well as of the treatment. At the crack of dawn, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya went out into the surrounding open fields and came across the divinely indicated herb—“Murmun”—growing all around in abundance and profusion. He gathered the herb in the requisite amount, and returned to his quarters. After carefully cleansing the herb, he prepared the medicine. Soon, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya met with Khan Zaman Khan, and the medical treatment was started. Khan Zaman Khan regained health, and rather sheepishly, offered a medical fee which he deemed unworthy of his healer since he (i.e. Khan Zaman Khan) had previously undergone exceptionally expensive medical treatment.

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya himself used to say that he did not have to expend a single paisa and yet Allah rewarded him with thousands. Yet another remarkable event was to unfold shortly thereafter: Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, on returning home after attending to Khan Zaman Khan in Umb, found a letter from his son, Doctor Saeed Ahmad. Expenses for his son’s medical college education evidently required a significant one-time expense, the amount of which was—Allah be praised—equal to the amount of the recent medical compensation from Khan Zaman Khan. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya thanked God for divinely facilitating this matter, because the funds to pay for those expenses had hitherto simply not been available in the house and, had this remarkable turn of events not taken place, the payment for the educational expenses would have necessitated the sale of cattle or granary or even having to part with some of his land.

Doctor Mubarak of the village of Sussal has, in his same unpublished essay titled “Debgaran ka Muaalij Khandan” (i.e. the Medical Family of Debgaran), noted an incident of another severe illness of the same Nawab Sahib. On regaining health, he sent Maulvi Muhammad Yahya a large number of gifts. And Nawab Sahib’s wife also presented him with a large number of gifts. All in all, the material was brought into the village, hauled by three mules. It contained valuable clothes, cash, and other items.

Doctor Mubarak further notes:

In addition to being seasoned medical practitioners down through the generations, this family of Debgaran was also aglow with the light of knowledge. In a decidedly unpublicized and humble way, this family spread the light of knowledge throughout the region in the service of humanity. And this family held the status of being the first school and the training ground in knowledge for many. Thus, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya (aka “Ustaad Barraay Debgaran Waalay” i.e. Senior Teacher in Debgaran) not only kept alive this tradition of his luminary elders, he further enlivened it meritoriously: He provided a household which served as a safe haven for orphans, for the needy, for those without means, and for those down on their luck. In other words, he placed a hand of affection and safeguarding on the heads of all those orphans and needy children who have been bereft of a sheltering home. And thus he took on the responsibility of raising them, instructing them in religion as well as educating them in the practical aspects of morals. In this way, he adorned them with the jewels of religious and worldly education, elevating them from deprivation to self-sufficiency. All this, needless to say, proved indispensable for them to become independent adults. This, then, was an aspect of his life which, in his lovingly unique way, he sustained to the very last breath of his life.

I know on a personal basis countless individuals who, in moving forward through the dark alleys, and in the ups and downs of this borrowed life, took light from the chandelier of this fount of knowledge and wisdom.

These elders were always mindful of improving the social condition of those in the region, often rendering financial services out of their own pocket. They also possessed a refined taste for the promotion of religious and intellectual pursuits. In addition to providing for the residential care of students in the village’s mosque, they had an enclosure built from their own expenses and took care of constructing a solidly-built water-well. In addition, they remained engaged at all times with helping solve issues of people at large through their influence.

Acceptance of Ahmadiyyat

According to the will of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, both of his sons—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—were mentally prepared for and eagerly expecting the manifestation of the Promised Mahdi (i.e. rightly-guided one.) Therefore, soon after becoming aware of the claim of Hazrat Mirza Sahib to be the mujaddid (i.e Reformer) of the 14th century Hijrah, they both, one after the other, became associated with the Ahmadiyya Movement.

Mirza Azam Baig, who was closely related to Hazrat Mirza Sahib, used to come and visit Hafiz Mohammad Saeed on account of his devotion and allegiance to him. Thus, he knew the family well and was especially impressed by the religious propensity, knowledge, and sound judgment of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s two sons. In relating to Hazrat Mirza Sahib the qualities of the two brothers, Mirza Azam Baig also provided him their address. Now it was Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s custom to directly propagate his teachings to individuals of intellectual repute. Thus, he sent a parcel containing some religious literature—namely, two of his books, Aina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam and Hamamatul Bushra—to the attention of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya. On the cover of that parcel were emblazoned the  following words:

يَـٰيَحْيَىٰ خُذِ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ بِقُوَّةٍۢ ۖ 

O John, take hold of the Book with strength (Holy Quran, 19:12)

The selection of those words by Hazrat Mirza Sahib—the very same words which Hafiz Mohammad Saeed had directed his older son to get etched on the embossing nugget on his ring—was no ordinary coincidence. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya sensed a deep and hidden connection between these two incidents, and deemed this as a manifest sign of the truthfulness of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s claims. And it was on reading half the book that his soul was further satisfied in this matter. He immediately sent a written request via mail to Hazrat Mirza Sahib for taking the religious pledge since he could not travel to take the religious pledge in person because he was attending to nursing his mother back to good health. In turn, Hazrat Mirza Sahib accepted his religious pledge. In fact, acknowledging the superiority of serving his mother in those circumstances, he instructed Maulvi Muhammad Yahya to tend to his mother’s health unto satisfication and only thereafter to take up travel. His mother remained ill for an extended period of time. After her death, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya traveled and appeared in the presence of Hazrat Mirza Sahib in 1896, and at that time took the religious pledge at his hands.

The younger brother, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub, remained hesitant initially: He wanted further satisfaction in the matter of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s claims. When the two brothers traveled to Qadian in 1896, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub could not remain unmoved by the spiritual presence of Hazrat Mirza Sahib during the few days they spent there. Immediately, he began studying the books of Hazrat Mirza Sahib: His heart began melting like the wax on a burning candle, and the matter became clear for him. As a result, he returned to Qadian in 1897, accompanied this time by his son Hakeem Muhammad Ishaq, and took the religious pledge. He remained in Qadian for some time and became an ardent devotee of the Promised Messiah. 

Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub had always been a tender-hearted person, and now his prayers became infused by even more humility and passion. In turn, Hazrat Mirza Sahib was most impressed by Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub’s humbleness and tender-heartedness. On one occasion, Hazrat Mirza Sahib embraced him, and said to him: “God will give you that status and honor wherefore nawabs will straighten your sandals for you.” (Note: This—the straightening of someone’s sandals—being a token of immense respect.)

Those words of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, it should be noted, proved true in both metaphorical and figurative ways. Thus, it is related that Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub once traveled to the Indian state of Umb. Nawab Sahib of Umb was among the devotees of his father, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the relationship between Nawab Sahib and the sons of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—had always been an active and eminently cordial one. Now, on this particular visit, and as was his custom, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub had taken off and left his sandals outside the main door of Nawab Sahib’s residence. When the time came for Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub to depart, Nawab Sahib himself accompanied him to the main door to bid him farewell, and with his own hands he straightened Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub’s sandals. On seeing this, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub recalled the words of Hazrat Mirza Sahib and his eyes grew dim. He related the entire matter to Nawab Sahib who, in turn, was deeply moved. He embraced Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub and only then did he bid him farewell.

After taking the religious pledge at the hands of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, the two brothers immersed themselves fervently in the religious propagation work of the Ahmadiyya Movement. As a result, a host of people—those who were already impressed by the piety and religiosity and truthfulness of the brothers—also soon joined the Ahmadiyya Movement. Thus, on the one hand, the spiritual light of the Ahmadiyya Movement began spreading from house to house in the district of Hazara, and on the other hand, opposing groups began to appear on the horizon.  As a result, religious obstacles and oppositional barricades began appearing all around. Rivers of oppositional fire came the way of the two brothers, as did fierce tempests, but the steadfastness of the two brothers remained unaffected through it all. In fact, many mortal attempts were made on their lives by opponents who, in their venom and vitriol, never hesitated from inflicting bodily harm on the two brothers.

On one occasion, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub was returning from some travels and, on finding him alone, his unscrupulous opponents viciously attacked him, inflicting severe wounds on his person. He barely escaped with his life, but sustained a deep wound to his forehead. His fellow villagers were ready to launch a punitive attack but Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub stopped them, and in fact did not even register charges at the local police office. He simply said: “I have registered charges in the court of Allah.” The marks of the wound on his forehead stayed with him throughout his life. On one occasion, he remarked: “On the day of judgment, when I am brought face to face with Allah, and when my book of deeds is being sorted through, I will say at that time that this is the wound that I bore for the love of Your Mirza. This is all that I have for a certificate, and nothing else.

More so even than love for and allegiance to Hazrat Mirza Sahib, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub harbored passionate devotion to him. Despite being eminently kindhearted and mild mannered, he could not bear to hear even a single word said in disrespect against Hazrat Mirza Sahib.

It is noteworthy to relate an event from Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub’s life which exemplifies presence of mind in the face of opposition, resulting in a complete defeat of the opponents. So the Christian missionaries of Mansehra would often engage in religious debates with Ahmadi Muslims. One day, Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman—at that time a seventh grade student in Mansehra High School—told Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub that a new debate between Ahmadi Muslims and Christian priests was going to take place. That debate would take on the subject of the divinity of Christ and kaffara (i.e. atonement, aka the expiation of sins.) Since Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman was a young boy, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub accompanied him that morning to Mansehra. Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman went to school and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub sat down in the open field where the debate was to take place. Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman recounts the events of the debate as follows:

Maulvi Sahab was sitting on the floor, intently and quietly listening to the series of questions and answers in the religious debate taking place. The argumentative debate was at its peak at the time and both sides were participating intensely. There was an immense audience witnessing the spectacle. There came a time when the Christians were bereft of arguments and left speechless. At that time, Priest Alter stood up and said with pointed derision and vehemence: “Look, your Mirza claims to speak with God and he pretends to be the Messiah. But he had claimed that Mohamady Begum would be betrothed to him, yet another man took her in marriage.

I observed how my usually humble and composed Baji (a reference to Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub), his face turned red with anger and honor on hearing those disparaging words. He was one who used to say in his sweet and mellifluous Hindko language, “Murra Mirza” (i.e. my very own Mirza, that being a reference to Hazrat Mirza Sahib.) He could not bear any disrespect against him. He immediately stood up and walked over to Maulvi Abdur Rauf who was representing the organization from Qadian and said to him, “Abdur Rauf, I will respond to the priest.” Having said that, he turned to the priest and said, “Priest Sahib, neither do we consider Hazrat Mirza Sahib to be divine nor a prophet. We regard him as a religious reformer. You all consider Jesus (peace be upon him) to be the son of God and a God. When a carpenter took away his mother in marriage, why did you people not feel the pangs of honor being sullied?

On hearing this, the priests began foaming at their mouths with bitterness and futility and helplessness. They started gathering their books and fleeing from the debate. People began asking, who was that person who gave such a resounding response to the Christians? Somebody said, “This was Nikray Ustad of Debgaran.” (i.e. Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub was known by that moniker in those regions.) Now people began milling all around to catch a glimpse of him. They all spontaneously exclaimed that, on that day, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub had saved and upheld the honor of Muslims.

He had, as it were, shot from his quiver an arrow from which the Christian priests could not escape. This, then, was his honor for Islam, for Ahmadiyyat, and for his spiritual teacher. In truth, he was devoted to Hazrat Mirza Sahib utterly and completely. He had realized that in his obedience lay the life-giving stream to nourish the soul and he utterly drenched himself in that very soul-satisfying water. (Reference: Unpublished autobiography of Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman.)

These two spiritual elders—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—made available their services, and indeed their lives, at all times to serve the mission. In order to gather supporting arguments for the truthfulness of the mission, he undertook travels far and wide. He had, from his blessed father, already heard prophecies by Mulla Sahib Kothay Walay About the appearance of the Promised Mahdi (i.e. rightly-guided one). So in order to meet his disciples, he decided to travel to the area, and indeed met some of the elders. And of those meetings, he wrote to Hazrat Mirza Sahib of two such meetings by way of a letter. That letter was published as part of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s book titled Tuhfa Golarwiyya (pp. 35-36.) in which he wrote:

I have received the personal testimony of these two pious souls by way of my dear friend, Maulvi Hakeem Muhammad Yahya of Debgaran. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya is a staunch believer, a pious soul, and a righteous caliph of Hazrat Kothay Walay. He wrote to me a letter dated January 23, 1900 in which he informed me of how he had listened to the statements of these two pious souls. May Allah shower them with blessings. Amen. And that letter is as follows:

Presenting the following for the perusal of the honorable spiritual leader of our time, submitting the peace and blessings of Allah upon him. I went to the village of Kotha in the Yusaf Zai area of the North-West Frontier Province of India because I had heard that Hazrat Kothay Walay used to say that the birth of the Promised Mahdi had taken place, but he had not manifested yet. And I remained acutely aware of investigating this matter further. So when I went to the village of Kotha this time, I sought out and inquired of Hazrat Kothay Walay’s remaining disciples. All of them said that this was a well-known fact and that Hazrat Kothay Walay used to say so. Two people, however, in particular, certified that they had heard with their own ears what Hazrat Kothay Walay himself had said in this matter.

And at this time, I will verbatim present to you their respective testimony each. (1) The respectable Noor Muhammad—he has committed the Holy Quran to his memory, is a sincere disciple of Hazrat Kothay Walay, and who was a resident of Garhi Ama Zai and presently residing in Kotha—relates that one day he was sitting near Hazrat Kothay Walay, while he was performing ablution in preparation for prayers, when he (i.e. Hazrat Kothay Walay) remarked: ‘We are now in the era of somebody else.’ I didn’t quite understand his meaning, and inquired, ‘How so? Is it that you consider yourself so advanced in age that your era has passed away? There are many people of your age who are enjoying sound health.’ Hazrat Kothay Walay replied: ‘You misunderstand me. I mean something else.’ Then Hazrat Kothay Walay said: ‘The person who is appointed by Allah for the reformation of Islam has been born. Our turn is now over. This is why I said that we are in the era of somebody else.

“He then added: ‘I am to a certain extent involved in worldly affairs, but this Reformer will have no concern for worldly matters. The magnitude of the problems that will confront him will be so great that no parallel exists in history, but he will not care. Afflictions and turmoil of all kinds will abound, but he will not care. The heavens and the earth will be engulfed in upheavals, but he will not care.’

Then I submitted, ‘Please tell me his name, his distinguishing characteristics, and his place of residence.’ Hazrat Kothay Walay simply replied: ‘I shall not tell.’”

So that is his statement, to which I have neither added and from which nor subtracted a single word. Yes, his narrative was in the Afghani language, and this is its translation. (2) Another person by the name of Gulzar Khan—a resident of the Bada Bair district, and presently lives in a village near Kotha called Topi—had stayed in the service of Hazrat Kothay Walay for an extended period of time. Gulzar Khan stated on oath the following to Maulvi Muhammad Yahya:

One day Hazrat Kothay Walay was sitting in a public gathering, and appeared to be in an especially happy mood. Presently, Hazrat Kothay Walay remarked: ‘Some of my contemporaries shall witness the Promised Mahdi (i.e. rightly-guided one) with their own eyes (this being an indication that the Mahdi would appear in this very land, which would enable them to see him with their own eyes), and they will listen to his words with their own ears.’”

So that is his statement. I, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, thereupon informed Gulzar Khan that the prophecy of Hazrat Kothay Walay had, in fact, been fulfilled: The Promised Mahdi had appeared in the land, in the province of Punjab, in accordance with the prophecy. On hearing this, Gulzar Khan began weeping bitterly. He was in poor health, he confided, and would therefore not be able to travel to Punjab to see and meet the Promised Mahdi. This thought was the reason for his distress. Finally, Gulzar Khan requested me to convey his salutations to the Promised Mahdi, and to request him to pray for his soul. I promised him that I would convey his salutations as well as request the Promised Mahdi to pray for him. I am hopeful that the requested prayers will be taken up by the Promised Mahdi.

May the peace of Allah be upon both pious souls who presented their testimony.

Sincerely,

Muhammad Yahya, resident of Debgaran

In the year 1896, after taking the religious pledge, it was his constant yearning to spend more and more time in Qadian and partake of the spiritual blessings emanating from the blessed presence of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. Sometimes, when it was the month of Ramadan, he would partake of the blessings of keeping fasts and directly benefiting from his spiritual grace. In turn, when his disciples would seek permission to leave, he would insist that they stay further. In February 1901, when, after a period of staying for two months, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya sought permission of Hazrat Mirza Sahib to leave Qadian in order to attend to land management work, he said: “You have already sown the seeds of the plantation. When will the harvesting take place?” He replied: “In the month of May.” In turn, Hazrat Mirza Sahib remarked: “The month of May is still far.” As a result, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya deferred his departure, and stayed on longer to further partake of the spiritual blessings emanating from the blessed presence of his spiritual leader, Hazrat Mirza Sahib. This phenomenon continued after he had passed away and during the time when Maulana Nur-ud-Din was the spiritual leader in Qadian.

A Special Spiritual Bond with Maulana Nur-ud-Din

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya had an especially strong spiritual connection with Maulana Nur-ud-Din. After Hazrat Mirza Sahib passed away, and Maulana Nur-ud-Din became the president of the organization, this relationship was further strengthened by taking on the color of devotion in addition to spiritual love. Maulana Nur-ud-Din, following his injurious fall during horse-riding, stayed unwell for an extended period of time. During that time of physical infirmness, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya attended to nursing his health for a period of six months, during which he rendered numerous services. One day, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya recited the Arabic verse and said that its recitation followed by seeking Allah Allah through prayer would lead to its acceptance. Maulana Nur-ud-Din replied: Then you must pray for me in that way.

Constant nursing, attention to medications, and prayers lead to Allah granting healing to Maulana Nur-ud-Din. And in this way, the bond of spiritual love between the two was cemented.

Dissension Within the Organization Following the Demise of Maulana Nur-ud-Din in 1914

Following the demise of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, dissension arose within the organization in the matter of successorship, with many members began deeming the self-styled beliefs of Mian Mahmood as righteous. It was at that time that Maulana Muhammad Ali presented the correct beliefs of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, bringing the true claims of Hazrat Sahib to the fore. And a sworn statement of 70 elders of the organization was formulated. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya and Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub were among those elders. Thus the two elders were among the first of those members of the Lahore organization who stood firmly on the foundation of correct beliefs.

Sworn Testimony

We the signatories of the following sworn statement certify regarding the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Sahib, that when in 1891 he announced that the death of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) had been proved from the Holy Quran and the Hadith in which his appearance from within the nation of Prophet Muhammad had been mentioned, then at that time, Hazrat Mirza Sahib had not claimed to be a prophet. Yes, certain religious scholars had created doubts in the minds of the populace. And in doing so, those scholars had portrayed him as a claimant of prophethood and thereby an unbeliever. Following that, as Hazrat Mirza Sahib stated clearly on many occasions, anyone claiming that his writings showed that he had claimed to be a prophet was engaging in slander. He considered the Holy Prophet to be the Final Prophet, and deemed anyone claiming to be a prophet after the Holy Prophet to be an infidel and an unbeliever. And some of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s ilhaam (i.e. revelations) in which the word ‘messenger’ or ‘prophet’ had appeared or the ‘Messiah’ who was prophesied in the Hadith, then the appearance of those words did not allude at all to actual prophethood, but rather metaphorical prophethood which is also known as the status of Muhadith. And that the Seal of the prophets—the Holy Prophet—there can be no prophet after him, neither new nor old.

We also give the sworn testimony that before November 1901, we took the pledge at the hands of the promised Messiah, and Mian Mahmood and his cohorts, what they wrote about Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s claim was that it was initially not about prophethood. But in November 1901, he changed his claim and at that time became a claimant of prophethood, and considered as nullified the 10 to 11 years’ writings. Such a statement, we believe, is utterly wrong and entirely against the facts on the ground. We swear upon the holy name of Our Creator that it had never even entered into our minds that in 1901, Hazrat Mirza Sahib, the Promised Messiah, had made any change whatsoever in his claims. Or that he considered nullified his previous writings which are replete with the categorical denial of prophethood. Nor did we hear any such words from any person, that is, until Mian Mahmood made this announcement.

Signed by:

  • Muhammad Ali (Former editor of The Review of Religions magazine, President of the Ahmadiyya Organization in Lahore)

Signed by additional elders of the Ahmadiyya Organization.

  • (1) Maulvi Muhammad Ahsan (Amroha)
  • (7) Maulvi Muhammad Yahya (Debgaran)
  • (8) Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub (Debgaran)
  • (70) Abdul Haq (Rawalpindi)

Next, we turn to another landmark event in the life of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s father.

Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya had the good fortune of performing the hajj (i.e. annual pilgrimage to Mecca) in 1933. His nephew, Hakeem Mohammad Ishaak had also gone along with him. In addition, another Ahmadi Muslim by the name of Munshi Mohammad Zaman and a land owner of the village named Haji Abdullah were also his companions in the journey for the hajj. In those days, his son, Doctor Saeed Ahmad, was the assistant surgeon in Mansehra. The medical certificate giving him permission to go on the hajj was signed by him.

Demise of Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub (April 1934)

In 1934, at the age of 74, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub passed away after a brief illness. He was, at that time, under the medical care of his nephew, Doctor Saeed Ahmad. The pneumonia proved to be fatal. In accordance with his wishes, Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub was buried in the family graveyard, with his grave being dug at the feet of his father’s grave.

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was extremely fond of his younger brother. And his brother’s demise tried his patience to the utmost degree, but he never let this personal grief interfere with his passion for the service of strengthening Ahmadiyyat through his services. That burden of the work which the two brothers used to carry, hand-in-hand, he now shouldered by himself. For another 11 years, he stood like a rock, defending its fortress, as it were, from religious opponents.

At the time of Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub’s demise, his two surviving children—Abdur Rahman and Abdul Ghafoor—were very young. Maulvi Muhammad Yahya took on the responsibility for raising them.

Demise of Maulvi Muhammad Yahya (January 30, 1945)

On January 17, 1945, on returning home from a journey, Doctor Saeed Ahmad found his father, Maulvi Muhammad Yahya, in good health and busily engaged in work. However, merely a week had gone by when Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was afflicted by paralysis, an ailment from which he did not recover. And after ailing for a few days, he passed away on January 30, 1945. We belong to Allah and to Him is our return. At that time, Doctor Saeed Ahmad instructed his family to be patient and to handle the situation with fortitude, something which they did with excellence. He himself demonstrated an excellent example of the same. The funeral prayer for Maulvi Muhammad Yahya was led by Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself.

Bibi Fatima Noor (Mother of Doctor Saeed Ahmad)

A survey of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s ancestors would remain incomplete without the mention of that lady of innumerable qualities under whose nurturing care he grew up. So we will begin by noting that Hafiz Mohammad Saeed had arranged for the marriage of each of his two sons to take place at the same time. The wife of his younger son—Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub—was his familial cousin, and she hailed from the village of Purjan. And the wife of his older son—Maulvi Muhammad Yahya—was Bibi Fatima Noor, the niece of the village leader, Malik Mir Ahmad Khan. Her father’s name was Abdullah. She was quite young at the time of marriage, and there was no system for participation in education in those days. However, through her own interest as well as the influence around her, Bibi Fatima Noor gravitated toward a religious lifestyle. Thus, when her own daughter grew up to be eight years old, and her—that is, her daughter—having studied the Holy Quran by that age, Bibi Fatima Noor herself learned to read the Holy Quran from her daughter.

Bibi Fatima Noor was an eminently pious and devout lady. She was decidedly forbearing, level-headed, patient, generous, and of a pleasant temperament. Her sympathy extended to one and all. She would participate in supporting all dwellers in the village, without distinction, offering her support to them in good times and bad, serving others whenever the need arose. The arbitrary distinctions of castes, clans, and societal status did not hold any meaning in her eyes. In this regard, Doctor Saeed Ahmad once wrote as follows about an event from the life of his blessed mother, Bibi Fatima Noor:

I remember well that a household servant in our town, who people commonly called Musalli, died from the viral malady of chickenpox. My mother, as a gesture of sympathy, went to his family home and spent the night with the family. At that time, I told her that she should not have done so because the person who had died had been suffering from a contagious viral disease. She simply replied, “It was the demand of sympathy that I do so, and that is what I did.

Many examples of her generosity abounded in the village. It was related, for example, that she would dilute the vegetable lentil soup cooked in her house so that alms seekers could also be served. She was already the mother of Saeed, and additionally, people acknowledged her as the mother of the needy.

When she entered married life, she found all around her a spiritually infused environment. And in the spiritually sublime personage of her father in law, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, she found plentiful opportunities to serve him and to partake of his spiritual blessings. Due to her naturally impressionable temperament, she quickly imbibed from her father in law’s spiritual practices and colored herself in the same spiritual dye. He used to keep the Baiz fasts—the days of fasting which take place on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every month according to the lunar calendar. She began and kept this practice up right up to the very end of her life.

She passed away on January 9, 1929. Leading up to that time, she had traveled to the city of Peshawar to spend some time with her son, Doctor Saeed Ahmad. At that time, her health was poor. Yet, even at the insistence of her doctor son, she did not give up the Baiz fasts. The evening that she passed away, she had been fasting all day long. Soon after Iftar, having completed her fast, her unwellness took a serious turn and, within moments, she left this world to meet her Creator. Her body was brought to Debgaran, and buried right next to the grave of her respected father in law, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

Whenever Sayyed Asadullah Shah went to the graveyard in Debgaran, he would make it a point to offer prayers at the grave of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. He relates that, one day, just as he was about to return from the graveyard, he saw the same light with the same luminosity shining near his grave which he used to see at the site of his (i.e. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s) grave. And this nearby grave was that of the respected Fatima Noor, the mother of Doctor Saeed Ahmad. He was somewhat perplexed by this phenomenon and inquired prayerfully of Allah for enlightenment in this matter because he could not understand how such a spiritually elevated individual as Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, one whose piety and spiritual rigor were well established throughout the region, and then on the other hand an ordinary woman of the household. How could it be—as evidenced by the spiritual luminance that he had witnessed—that she could have the same spiritual stature since it is humanly impossible for a woman to pray continuously. Sayyed Asadullah Shah was thereafter informed through a spiritual revelation that Allah had granted the lady with a reward for her pious worship and that her name had been written in the heavens as Mahtab Bibi. It appears that this honor was given to her especially because of her strict adherence to fasting during the days of Baiz.

Mahtab Bibi—the mother of Doctor Saeed Ahmad—her piety has been nicely captured in the words of Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman as follows. It should be added that his entire childhood as well as a subsequent and significant period of his life was spent in her nurturing and thoughtful care:

In my life, I have had the opportunity to closely witness the lives of three women: The life of the respected Fatima Noor, the mother of Doctor Saeed Ahmad, the life of the respected sister of Doctor Saeed Ahmad, and the life of the respected Ma Bibi. (Bibi Alam Noor was Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman’s mother in law, as well as the mother of the respected Ahmad Sadiq.)

I found these three respected women to have an exceptionally high status of piety and purity.  While we have all heard the stories of Hazrat Rabia of Basra, we have witnessed them in the lives of these three above mentioned women. They were certainly at the level of Hazrat Rabia of Basra. Of course, Allah alone knows whose spiritual status is the higher, and whose the lesser. However, what I have just stated is my own estimation. Though they may have been seated in the midst of thousands, their spiritual countenance heralded that they were extraordinary women. (Biography of Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman.)

No matter which criterion one uses to judge Bibi Fatima Noor, she was extraordinary.  And judging by the narratives we have heard of her life, following are some of the qualities that manifestly come to the foreground: Resignation to the Will of Allah, humbleness, patience, sympathy, caring, and affection. All those who saw her, saw in her person a woman of substance, a dedicated daughter in law and wife. She was an earnestly devoted and doting mother under whose care not only Noor Jahan Begum and Doctor Saeed Ahmad grew up, but also dozens of needy orphans. (And among those latter was, in fact, Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman.) May Allah elevate her spiritual status. Amen.

Foreword by Biographer

I present this biography—entitled Hayat-e-Saeed—with the hope and understanding that you will not judge it by the criteria of literary biographies, because the goal is not, in the least whatsoever, to add to the canons of literature. Rather, what I have ardently sought to capture in this biography are glimpses into a life of striving, of a life which began in earnest when a six year old Saeed left behind the courtyard of his childhood home—embarking on a six miles long journey—so he could set his foot in the precincts of a primary school.

Hayat-e-Saeed, then, seeks to convey the essence of Khan Bahadur Doctor Saeed Ahmad Khan Sahib’s 90 years of ceaseless striving. It covers a span of time which encompass a multifaceted life in which, at a certain juncture, we find him actively engaged in seeking education; at another juncture, we find him skillfully wielding the instruments of medical practice in the service of healing fellow humans; and at yet other junctures we find him spreading smiles across faces, spreading happiness across the countenance of an entire lot of humanity, one which had not so long ago been on the verge of hopelessness. And yes, at yet other junctures, we find him diligently tending to the spiritual needs of souls which had been worn out and weighed down by the inevitable worries, trials, and tribulations of life.

Cast a glance at any period of his life, and it becomes clear as daylight that when a person lives selflessly, operates at a level far above that of personal ambition, lives within the modest confines of humbleness, and then decides to achieve something lofty for humanity—guided by his conviction—then even storms change their apparently inevitable course, seemingly insurmountable cliffs crumble, obstacles begin to recede, and goals draw nearer and nearer still.

Here, it would be appropriate to mention some background to this biography of Doctor Saeed Ahmad. During the years 1994 to 1996, the incharge publications division of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore, Mian Fazl-e-Ahmad, along with Chaudhry Mansur Ahmad, the General Secretary. I was consulted by them—in the matter of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s biography—to collaborate with a professional writer to compile a biography. At that time, I expressed my desire to volunteer to undertake this work myself rather than merely coordinate with someone else. As such, I accepted the full responsibility for the endeavor.

Those were also the years following my mother’s death, a time when I had all but lost the will to participate in the daily tussles of life and, having brought my professional career to a close, I was devoting myself to serving my father, Doctor Saeed Ahmad. It is my great good fortune that among all his children, I had the most opportunities to be close to him and in this way my mind had become a safe repository for many of the details and narratives as related by him. In fact, Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself had tremendous confidence in my memory, especially from the point of view of events and their chronology. He used to say that I had inherited my strong memory from his uncle, my maternal grandfather. A few of my short-format writings had come to his attention, and he had expressed approval of them. In this way, he had confidence in my writing abilities. He was also aware of my intention to compile his biography, and in fact I used to write down many of his verbally narrated events with his permission. He had also given me access to his autobiographical narrative of the events surrounding the crisis of 1974. It was, therefore, the combination of these aforementioned considerations which had led me to take on, without any hesitation, the responsibility of compiling his biography.

After Doctor Saeed Ahmad had passed away, Doctor Asghar Hameed was entrusted with the responsibility of serving as the fourth president of the organization. I, along with Mr. Anwar Ahmad, visited Doctor Asghar Hameed in his office to seek permission to proceed with compiling Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s biography. He not only approved my request, but in addition—also at my request—approved of bringing out a special edition of Paigham-e-Sulh, that of course being the flagship magazine of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore. In this way, a significant corpus of biographical material was gathered, which proved valuable for this biography. Doctor Asghar Hameed also very kindly entrusted to me the freedom in selecting the material for the proposed special edition of Paigham-e-Sulh, which was eventually published in December 1997.

After approximately four years had passed, Doctor Asghar Hameed one day, during a conversation, inquired into the progress of the biography. My answer was admittedly vague, and did not satisfy him, so he added with a degree of earnestness, “Time is slipping away.” That remark did nothing less than jolt me. In addition, Chaudhry Mansur Ahmad continued to regularly bring attention to the need for putting the biographical work’s process on a solid foundation. By the middle of 2001, I put together an initial draft of how the chapters of the biography would be organized, and presented it to Chaudhry Mansur Ahmad. He approved of it and, on my request, he provided me with documents and personal notes in the capacity of the General Secretary of the organization.

The life of the fourth president of the organization, Doctor Asghar Hameed, drew to a close altogether too soon: He passed away on October 13, 2002. Following that, I received guidance under the aegis of the fifth president of the organization, Doctor Abdul Karim Saeed.

It was on setting about and coming to grips with the practicalities and pragmatics of putting together the biographical work that I realized my naivete: Accepting the responsibility for the endeavor of compiling the biography single-handedly had been easy enough, but achieving it, as I began to realize, was going to be nothing short of scaling a steep cliff. I became acutely aware of the extent to which I had underestimated the task, given my limited abilities. And as I began treading on this challenging terrain, my progress was impeded by periods of time when I was unwell, and at other times the exigencies of this world in all their varieties would raise roadblocks in the way of this work. But during all this, I kept my sights on the final goal, and in this way the journey continued, with all its ups and downs. Many years were spent thus, poring over and gathering the jewels of insight, spread out as they were, over the multi-volume memoranda of Doctor Saeed Ahmad, his narratives, and various documents.

And during the above mentioned process of research and compilation, I found myself face-to-face with indescribable realizations and feelings. In my thinking and in my imagination, as well as in my sensibilities, I would find myself in the company of my blessed father all the time, and it felt like I, too, was experiencing his life with him, from the smallest moments of  joys to times of great loss. It was, thus, with the certainty of my own senses that I witnessed the flames rising from Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s residence in Abbottabad—Dar-us-Saeed—and the intensity of the explosions taking place at that time. And my ears cannot forget the sky-piercing yelling and abusive chanting of the thugs and ruffians who had descended upon Dar-us-Saeed. Those were, to put it modestly, times which had tried our patience and indeed tested our upper limits, really, given the massive loss of property and imminent threat to our very lives. I could not but sense the intensity of my blessed father’s all too natural grief in those trying conditions. Then, in the city of Lahore—specifically in the Ahmadi Muslim colony of Dar-us-Salam—I remained close to my blessed father, much as did I during his missionary travels to Europe and to America.

During the course of writing this biography, there were times when my face would light up with smiles of pleasure, satisfaction, and joy. Then there were times when tears would flow down my cheeks, washing away, as it were, the very words that I had inscribed to become a part of the biography. Experiencing all these sensations, nonetheless, I regard the compilation and writing of this biography as an act of devotion: To the utmost of my abilities, I have captured all events in an unbiased fashion. Thus, I gave strict preference to Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s own writings over common anecdotal knowledge in order to avoid any kind of  embellishment whatsoever. Let it also be known that the mention of the identities of certain individuals has been avoided to spare sensibilities: After all, Allah prefers the overlooking of the faults of others. Despite all the care that I have taken in this regard, if any perceived undue criticism regarding anyone has slipped in, then it would be my wish that the oversight be excused.

The essence of the material presented in Hayat-e-Saeed is drawn from the three unpublished memoirs, written by Dr Saeed Ahmad himself, which comprise the various parts of his life:

  1. Experience of the Crisis of 1974, which Doctor Saeed Ahmad had written at the insistence of the respected Raja Muhammad Afzal. This particular document has historical importance.
  2. Hayat-e-Saeed (i.e. Life of Saeed: A Few Moments from my Borrowed Life), this being composed of a few important events prior to 1974. 
  3. The Influence and Establishment of the Ahmadiyya Movement in the Hazara region of Pakistan and the Opposition Thereof, which captures an important chapter of the Ahmadiyya Movement.
    (The compilation of the preceding two documents was done by Professor Basheer Ahmad Soz, whose  amazing diligence and effort in this regard included the calligraphic typesetting of the documents themselves.)
  4. Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s numerous memoranda, documents, dictations, and travelogs.
  5. Certain other documents and publications from which this biography has benefited are as follows:
    1. Professor Khalil-ur-Rahman’s unpublished autobiography.
    2. Jaltay Bujhtay Deep (i.e. Flickering Lamps), an autobiography of Bilqees Cheema.
    3. Kuch Yaadain, Kuch Baatain (i.e. Some Memories, Some Conversations), a compilation of essays by the respected Razia Faruqui.
    4. Hayat-e-Hasan (i.e. A Good Life), by Abdullah Jaan Niazi
    5. Aina-e-Sidq-o-Sifa (i.e. The Mirror of Devotion and Duty), by the respected Mirza Masud Baig.
    6. Tareekh-e-Awanan-e-Hazara (i.e. The History of the Awaans of Hazara), researched and written by Muhabbat Hasan.
    7. The various magazines, pamphlets, and other documents published by the Ahmadiyya Organization
    8. Specially commissioned articles for Hayat-e-Saeed.
  6. The Foreword of Hayat-e-Saeed is from one of Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s own writings.

To state a truism, devotion to the Urdu language has undergone a significant downturn in our present era. With that in mind, the narrative of this biography has been purposefully composed with simplicity of presentation in mind: All Farsi verses of rhyme, as well as Arabic inscriptions, are accompanied by translations. Nonetheless, I am acutely aware that until a time that Hayat-e-Saeed has been translated into English, the majority of the Ahmadiyya Organization’s members won’t be able to benefit from it.

Colonel Muhammad Shaukat relates that, a few days after Doctor Saeed Ahmad had passed away, he saw Doctor Saeed Ahmad astride a horse, dressed in white clothes. Colonel Muhammad Shaukat was told that he (Doctor Saeed Ahmad) is the Qutab (i.e. lodestar.) Allah alone knows the spiritual status of Doctor Saeed Ahmad, but there is no doubt that his life can be likened to the guiding star which a traveler can turn to in order to get their bearings and direction.

I began this work on September 1, 2001 in a room on the second story of our mosque next to Darus Saeed in Abbottabad (Pakistan.) Where the luxuriant greenery and verdure of the Habiba Mountain to the west brought refreshment to the mind, I also couldn’t help but be impressed by recollections of the numerous luminaries of the spiritual firmament whose foreheads had—in prostration—reverentially touched and graced the floor of this very mosque. And then, moving forward in time, the completion of this biography took place in the peaceful and spacious residence of my daughter Nasreen and her husband Waheed, the residence being surrounded by snow-capped mountains in the Canadian city of Calgary where, between July 2011 and July 2014, I completed more than two thirds of this biography.

In addition to providing the needed background details for this biography, the relevant books, numerous articles, and various other documents, its organization, typesetting and publication, I was supported at every stage by all my sisters and brothers as well as other dear ones: What you hold in your hands—this biography, Hayat-e-Saeed—is the result of that collective effort. Yes, the casting of the narrative into words has been my fortunate duty, but I can categorically state that this could not have been achieved had my dear ones not placed their confidence in me, encouraged me, and prayed for me as well as for the accomplishment of this work. 

In addition, my lack of familiarity with modern typesetting practices and publication technologies could have posed a stiff challenge were it not for the help of my brothers: This area was tremendously facilitated by my brothers, in particular by my brother Brigadier Muhammad Saeed who took on full responsibility in this area, sacrificing his precious time, sparing neither day nor night. In this way, I feel justified in declaring the presentation of Hayat-e-Saeed as the joint effort of all the children of Doctor Saeed Ahmad. And it is with this in mind that I wish to share the following spiritual vision, one which Doctor Saeed Ahmad himself had seen:

February 16, 1981,

Dar-us-Salam

That evening, and sometime after I had woken up from a dream, I witnessed a momentary vision in which, before me in my present bedroom, stood an almirah with its door flung wide open and whose shelves—and this is different from the current state of said almirah—are filled with books. All the books, as I witness them, are immaculately organized and present a sanctified presence altogether. And I sense that this superb work of organization was accomplished by one of my daughters. The scene was an especially pleasing one. In the almirah—I observed—there was nothing else but the books.

It is entirely possible that what I’m about to share may be my wishful thinking, but I cannot help but contemplate that the above-mentioned vision of my blessed father was perhaps a hint toward this work of mine, one of sorting and organizing—the chapters and indeed entire books which span his life—into a unified whole, into a narrative spanning the details of his life, and ultimately into the book you hold in your hands. At any rate, the above-mentioned vision is a source of immense personal satisfaction. And it is my fervent wish that if this biographical work, my humble efforts, be acceptable as worthy to Allah, then may He forgive me my faults and my shortcomings, and to indeed make me of those who are not left bereft of His rewards. Amen.

All praise is due for Allah, the Lord of the heavens and of the Earth. (Holy Quran—36:45)

Safia Bint-e-Saeed

July 15, 2014

Al-Ramadan 17, 1435

Photos (6)

Doctor Saeed Ahmad, seated in his Dar-us-Salam Colony residence. The painting is emblazoned with calligraphy of a Quranic Verse (“Surely, Allah is with us“), the painting being the artwork and gift of Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Saqib for Doctor Saeed Ahmad when he moved to Lahore (Pakistan) in 1974.
Doctor Saeed Ahmad (front row, standing in the center) in a Memorable Picture from his Visit to the Woking Mosque (UK) in 1951.
Doctor Saeed Ahmad (standing, fourth from the left) along with Members of the Ahmadiyya Organization in UK

Doctor Saeed Ahmad (standing, sixth from the right) along with other Participants of the London (UK) Convention in 1975
Doctor Saeed Ahmad (front, center) along with Members of the Ahmadiyya Organization in UK (View 1)
Doctor Saeed Ahmad (front, center) along with Members of the Ahmadiyya Organization in UK (View 2)
Doctor Saeed Ahmad (front, center) in front of the Ahmadiyya House (“Dar-us-Salam“) in Wembley, London (UK)
The Grand Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Organization in Paramaribo (Suriname)
Reception in Suriname (View 1)
Reception in Suriname (View 2)
Reception in Suriname (View 3)
Doctor Saeed Ahmad with Ahmadi Muslim Members in Suriname
Doctor Saeed Ahmad Presenting the President of Suriname with a Gift of the Holy Quran

Doctor Saeed Ahmad (front, fifth from left) Standing Alongside the President of Suriname
Doctor Saeed Ahmad in Abbottabad (Pakistan) with Guests from Trinidad and Guyana
Doctor Saeed Ahmad (center) Standing in front of the Nickerie Mosque (Suriname)
Exhibition of Ahmadiyya Literature
Children in Suriname, Reciting Verses of Religious Rhyme of Hazrat Mirza Sahib
The Berlin Mosque (Germany)

Photos (5)

Doctor Saeed Ahmad
Hosting Guests from Trinidad and Guyana in Abottabad (View 1)
Hosting Guests from Trinidad and Guyana in Abottabad (View 2)
Doctor Saeed Ahmad’s son Doctor Abdul Hayee Saeed, Photographed here with the Honorable Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan
Ladies from Trinidad and Guyana, Hosted in Abottabad
Doctor Saeed Ahmad (seated, far right) Performing Prayers During a Sea Journey in Sweden
An Artist’s Rendering of the Western Wing of the Dar-us-Saeed Mosque
A Front View of the Dar-us-Saeed Mosque
Verses of Rhyme by Doctor Abdul Karim Saeed, Commemorating the Dar-us-Saeed Mosque
Doctor Saeed Ahmad Laying the Foundation of the Ahmadiyya Hall
Doctor Saeed Ahmad With Foreign Guests at the Annual Ahmadiyya Convention in Lahore (Pakistan)
Arrival of Maulana Sadr-ud-Din in Dadar
Another View of Doctor Saeed Ahmad With Foreign Guests at the Annual Ahmadiyya Convention in Lahore (Pakistan)
Doctor Saeed Ahmad Addressing the Annual Ahmadiyya Convention at Ahmadiyya Buildings
Attendees of the Abbottabad Summer School
Reception at the Dar-us-Saeed Mosque
Doctor Saeed Ahmad with the Organizers of the Annual Ahmadiyya Convention in 1973
With Ahmadi Muslim Students from Indonesia