Hudhur said a tradition of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) relates that he said: ‘mention the good qualities of your deceased’ and ‘do not mention their shortcomings.’
Hudhur explained that each person has both merits and shortcomings. After death a person is cut off from this world, thus there is no need to mention his or her shortcomings, indeed his or her good qualities should be mentioned. For one this inspires others to do good, secondly one is motivated to pray for the soul of the deceased. As said before, good and bad qualities are found in every person. Human nature is at times inclined to good and at other times it is prone to weakness. Yet, the merits and piety of some people is so dazzling that it conceals their human failings. Those people are most fortunate whose good qualities and virtues are acknowledged by everyone who knows them. According to Hadith, Paradise becomes Wajib (necessary) in such a situation.
Hudhur said today he would speak about one such person about whom everyone has very high opinion. A person who was not a Pakistani or an Indian Ahmadi, neither was he from a family of a companion of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) nor was he a born Ahmadi. From his childhood to mature age, he did not grow up under the auspices of the Jama’at or Khilafat. He took the Bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) a few years ago but left many long-term Ahmadis behind. He was our brother, respected Ravil Bukharaev sahib, who was Russian and passed away on 24 Janaury. Inna lillahe wa inna illahe raji’oon. [Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return’ 2:157]
Ravil sahib was a grain from among the handful of sand of early Russian Ahmadis. Yet, due to his scholarship and spiritual knowledge, sincerity and selflessness, exceptional connection with Khilafat, humility and zeal to take the message of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to others, he was like a bright star that showed the way to many. When, InshaAllah, in fulfilment of a revelation of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) the world will witness Ahmadiyyat spread in Russia like grains of sand, Ravil sahib will be remembered.
Ravil sahib served Ahmadiyyat immensely even before becoming an Ahmadi. He came to work at the BBC here in the UK for their Russian programmes. Once he finished working there, he dedicated himself. It appears as if night and day he was fervent not to lose a single moment to serve Ahmadiyyat. On the day he passed away he was filled with similar enthusiasm and was preparing for a MTA meeting when a call came that he was not well and could not attend the meeting. He suffered from a massive heart attack and passed away. He was 61 years old. He is survived by his widow and did not have any children.
Ravil sahib was first introduced to Ahmadiyyat in 1990 when he came to London for some work regarding the Tartar nation. He met with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) and as a result of this came into Ahmadiyyat. He wrote in one place: ‘Although I am a Muslim by birth, because of the atheistic society up until 1889 my knowledge of Islam was negligible. Our mother tongue Tartar was completely banned in the society in which I was brought up. It was removed from the academic syllabus but an Islamic influence remained in the Tartars. Be they party workers or school teachers, they always said Bismillah before doing anything. The Tartar culture is a thousand years old and has always had an Islamic influence. The force of atheism during the time of my parents lessened somewhat while I was growing up. I cannot say that I was a secret Muslim who was on the lookout to find opportunity to offer Salat at the mosque. It was not like this at all. I was a young student and whatever came to mind in line with the society, I followed that.’ He further wrote: ‘In 1989 situation improved and among other freedoms religious freedom was granted. However, in order to reach true faith spiritual knowledge cannot be gained by mere reasoning. The blessing of faith is granted by God Himself. I was confused. Intellectually I had understood that it was Islam and Islam alone which gives the best teaching but my soul was completely vacant. The only thing that saved me from these doubts and misgivings were a few people who I met in London whom I consider to be true and real Muslims and they are the Community which is considered heretic in the Islamic world, that is Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.’ He also wrote: ‘The teaching of the Ahmadiyya Community is that one cannot attain the love of God until one also loves creation of God. This immediately told me that this indeed was my destination. Here, I found everything together; that is, my education, knowledge, reason and my thirst for proofs based on reasoning, search of true religion and spiritual experiences. I found all this in one place.’
Hudhur said in his Jalsa address of 1993 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) said that with the grace of Allah the Exalted connections were being renewed in Hungry in his time and the first fruit of this was Illahi sahib who came to Britain from Hungary. Ravil sahib was very renowned in intellectual circles and knew Illahi sahib because of this, who frequently brought him to mosque and Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) noticed that his condition changed, he took Bai’at, went to Hungary and did Tabligh which proved very fruitful and Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) had high hopes for future based on this.
Hudhur said it is not easy for these nations to accept Islam. They remained under the influence of atheism for seventy years, yet they did not break connections with Islam. They did not know any details about Islam so they remained outside of Islam in practical terms. Bringing them back to Islam is a demanding task and for this prayers should be made. The whole Community should pray that may God show miraculous signs which will help them come to Islam.
Hudhur said as earlier mentioned Ravil sahib was not an Ahmadi by birth but it seemed that he had always been an Ahmadi. He was an ambassador of Ahmadiyyat in the true sense. He took the message of Ahmadiyyat wherever he went and in instances where he felt there could be adverse reaction, he expressed his message with wisdom and made the introduction gradual. He understood which literature was suitable for distribution in which gathering. His was known to many intellectuals and academics. He himself was an author, a poet, translator and a Dai’ lillah (summoner to Allah). He was widely known and liked. It was through him that the message of Ahmadiyyat reached Russia and the neighbouring states in a way that it could not have reached through missionaries or had it reached, it would have taken longer. Ravil sahib participated in the academic gatherings of Moscow and in one way or the other mentioned the Jama’at there. He would arrange it with other Ahmadis to bring books to the events and distributed them.
From the time Russian Desk was established in London, Ravil sahib worked tirelessly for it and with great sincerity. When his missionary colleagues said they were tired and took a little rest, Ravil sahib said they were exhausted too quickly. He dubbed the Friday sermon in Russian for MTA and would ask his associates most eagerly on Saturdays if they had finished the translation of the sermon. At times, he would ask them on Friday evening how long it would take them to finish the translation. Until such time that he finished dubbing for the sermon, he remained anxious. During Jalsa his services and his fervour was exemplary. He translated in Russian at the Jalsa and also played the role of host to the guests from former Soviet states. He met them most warmly and informed the Jalsa administration how to best look after them. He said that year upon year of work did not avail as much benefit as bringing guests to one Jalsa and arranging for them to meet Khalifa of the time.
He translated many books of the Jama’at which proved extremely beneficial. His finest service was help with the Quranic translation in Russian. Khalid sahib of the Russian Desk writes that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) started work on Russian translation of the Qur’an in 1997 which was completed in 2004. Ravil sahib reviewed it along with others. He spent night and day engaged in this task and completed it in three months. As translation of the Holy Qur’an demands utmost care and diligence, he carried out the task with exhaustive detail and cross checked each word to find the most appropriate Russian word for it. At times checking a single Ayah (verse) took several hours. Hudhur said three editions of the Russian translation of the Qur’an have been published and this is a Sadqa Jaria (continual alms) which will remind us of Ravil sahib.
As Ravil sahib was a scholar, a journalist and a poet, he received various awards and honours for his services to the arts, for his books etc. He was a member of many societies. The editor-in-chief of the BBC Russian Service where he worked for a long while has paid him a great tribute, caling him a sincere Muslim and a scholar of religion. He said Ravil sahib was a well-spoken person whose knowledge extended in diverse directions.
In his book [the title of which can be translated as] ‘Road to God Knows Where’, Ravil sahib writes that he was visiting London and the lady of the house where he was staying attended a phone call and at the end of her conversation, she told to the person she was speaking with that she had a Russian guest staying at her place. Ravil sahib writes that mentioning this was not in line with the English way of doing things, so he considers it a miracle that it was mentioned. As a result of this he was invited to an Ahmadi mosque the next day. He says he went because he wanted to go. A car came to fetch him and the first thing that struck him was the motto of ‘Love for all hatred for none’. He says he was always interested in Islam, so he made time to do translation work that he was requested to do. He says when he met Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) he felt his world veiw was the same as his. He says that the material he translated was so clear and meaningful that his coming into the fold of Ahmadiyyat was not by chance. He was provided accommodation in Islamabad, Tilford where he enjoyed the open, pleasant surroundings. He translated four books and while he found the assertions of the Community tremendous, the most endearing assertion that he came across was that Islam will spread in the entire world in the near future.
Ravil sahib writes that Ahmadiyya Muslim Community claims that it will bring a revolutionary spiritual change in this age. It claims that its founder is the Messiah (on whom be peace) who came for the entire world. It claims that it will spread the Unity/Oneness of God in the entire world. It thus challenges the powers of the world and all religions in the spiritual realm. Ravil sahib relates a dream in his book in which he saw that he is offering Salat in congregation in a mosque in Qadian in a state of nakedness but is not concerned about this. He related this dream to Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) who told him that when a person is spiritually reborn and starts his journey towards the One God he must accept to abandon his previous attire and appear in front of God in an improvised and naked state. He says that this dream proved to him that all his doubts were gone and he also realised that spiritual re-birth on its own was not important, but one also had to purify oneself of all previous sins, from which only God could purify one, in order to start a new life. Hudhur explained that he wrote this book as a Tabligh tool for Russian readers.
The Jama’at books that Ravil sahib translated on his own are: Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, Murder in the Name of Allah, Stories from Early Islam, Muslim Festivals, Holy Muslims, Islam’s Answers to Contemporary Issues, Prophet’s Kindness to Children and various children’s books. The books that he reviewed and checked are: Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, Jesus in India, Our Teaching, Introduction to the Teachings of the Holy Qur’an, Islam ka Iqtisadi Nizam, Woman in Islam and Life of Muhammad. Hudhur said he also translated Hudhur’s Peace Conference addresses and other addresses which he felt were very important for the Russian readers. However, Hudhur said his most significant contribution was services in the translation of the Holy Qur’an.
Hudhur said various web sites of the BBC have paid tribute to Ravil sahib. Last evening BBC Russian presented a 30 minute programme about him which also mentioned Dr. Abdus Salam as an Ahmadi Muslim. Other media has also covered his passing away and tributes have been paid to him. A Ukraine website has posted an interview with Ravil sahib in which he has openly talked about his connection with Ahmadiyyat and has cited Ahmadiyyat as true Islam. He writes that when he had had the opportunity to learn English for his translation work and he was cut off from general life, he started receiving invitations to work and he was also invited to Islamic Conferences in Russia. In answer to a question whether he had a teacher, he answered that after his parents, the Khulafa of Ahmadiyya Community were his teachers and he wished he had found these teachers earlier.
Hudhur said although Ravil sahib had many good qualities, some of them were distinguished. He was most humble and had a fervent love for and a strong spiritual connection with Khilafat and nothing compared to this devotion. Khalid sahib of Russian Desk reminisces that in a recent meeting with Hudhur, Ravil sahib sought permission from Hudhur to write an introductory book in Russian in which matters/objections which are frequently raised on web sites would be answered. Hudhur approved this and advised that brief articles should be prepared in answer to each objection and sent to web sites, to which Ravil sahib said, ‘yes of course Hudhur’. Khalid sahib writes that soon after the meeting Ravil sahib said to him that he had been thinking for days how to make a start on this and Hudhur had made his task easy and he now had a clear mental picture of how to proceed. He said this was with the blessings of Khilafat and said he was going to make a start on the same day.
Hudhur said in addition there was a plan to create a web site in Russian. Hudhur had asked Ravil sahib to prepare a preliminary report into how this would be executed, who would upload it etc. Ravil sahib got in touch with Nasim Rehmatullah sahib and Malik Samar Imtiaz from Germany and work had started when he met his Maker. Hudhur said as soon as he had heard that a Russian web site was to be created, Ravil sahib started work on it.
Khalid sahib of the Russian Desk writes that one of his qualities was that he never wasted time and wanted to finish each task quickly, as if he had little time. Hudhur said he had personally noted this. Khalid sahib writes that he worked so hard that one had to ask Ravil sahib to take a break from work and his answer would be, ‘are you tired? I am not’. He was always concerned about progress of Ahmadiyyat in Russia and the neighbouring states. Hudhur said our Moscow mission house is situated in flats and Ravil sahib was keen to acquire a large building for this purpose. Hudhur said if he came to Hudhur with a plan and Hudhur did not approve of it due to too much expenditure or any other reason, he accepted with conviction. He did not lose hope but would come up with alternative suggestions. His eagerness was to spread the message of Ahmadiyyat in Russia as soon as possible.
Our missionary Hafiz Saeed sahib writes that although Ravil sahib became an Ahmadi just over twenty years ago but his connection with Khilafat and his insight into the office of Khilafat was such that it seemed he had been an Ahmadis for generations. Many of his traits were a lesson for Ahmadis. He used to say that if the Khalifa of the time has given a clear instruction about something, he considered it discourteous and sinful to further opine about the matter. Once Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih gave him an instruction, he would not say anything on that matter anymore. This is an excellent example for many old-term Ahmadis as well as new Ahmadis in terms of understanding the status of Khilafat.
An elder Ahmadi Russian writes in his letter of condolence that Ravil sahib kept great thoughts and considered service to Islam his faith and this is why he chose Ahmadiyya Islam. Our mu’allim (tutor/teacher) from Kazakhstan writes that he was introduced to Ravil sahib through his books. Reading his books one felt that he was extremely eager to take the message to Russian speaking people. He dubbed Hudhur’s Friday sermon in Russian language in a most affecting voice so that people could hear the message of the Imam of the day.
Rustam sahib, sadr of Moscow writes in his letter of condolence that Ravil sahib was a scholarly person and he used his scholarship most generously to benefit others. After accepting Ahmadiyyat he had completely devoted himself to servitude of God, service of Jama’at and people through his glorious qualities, like humility, gentleness, affection, sincerity, always seeking from God alone, always trying to help others.
Our missionary Basharat sahib writes that he remembers when the Friday sermon Russian translation broadcast started. After the first such broadcast everyone present was tearful and hugged each other congratulating each other. This translation was recorded in Ravil sahib’s voice. After this a series of Russian translation of the sermon started and Ravil sahib had the honour of taking the discourses of the holy Khalifa of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to Russian speaking brothers and sisters. He had joined at a late stage but in the shelter of Khilafat, he surpassed us.
Hudhur prayed that may God treat him with His loving grace and may God grant many excellent helpers like him. Hudhur said his funeral Prayer will follow regular Salat service.
Hudhur also announced the passing away of Sahibzada Dawood Ahmad sahib who was martyred in Pakistan on 23 January. He was the maternal great grandson of Sahibzada Abdul Latif shaheed. His family had joined the Lahore Ahmadis, but Dawood sahib took his Bai’at eight years ago.
Hudhur said time and again Ahmadis are being martyred in Pakistan, but are these martyrdoms overwhelming our resolve? After the Lahore martyrdoms our enemies might have thought they were going to vanquish us but Hudhur received letters from Ahmadis in Pakistan stating that their resolve was high and they demonstrated this with their actions. Recently they martyred an Ahmadi lady in Pakistan. When our mission house was attacked, ladies joined men in defending it and one lady lost her life in this. Ahmadi men, women and children are not afraid of sacrifice. Hudhur said may God accept the martyrdom of Dawood sahib. His martyrdom is a link of that strengthening of faith which his maternal great grandfather once demonstrated. Sahibazada Lateef saheed’s soul will be delighted that his bloodline has fulfilled its obligation one hundred years later. Hudhur asked for prayers for Pakistani Ahmadis that may God keep them safe from all evil.
Hudhur also announced funeral Prayers in absentia to be held for Mirza Naseer Ahmad sahib and Rabia Begum sahiba.