When we read or hear accounts of the companions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we note and observe their intense desire to recognise the truth, their intense desire to make financial and personal sacrifice and their demonstration, on individual levels, of ardent love and devotion for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). These were the latter-ones who tried to fulfil the dues of joining the ranks of the earlier-ones. Each had his own individual manner and style. Those who saw them or were close to them also learnt from them according to their own capacities and drew conclusions from some matters.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) was also a companion and he had personal connections with those companions whose accounts he relays, if not with all of them. He draws conclusions from these accounts and advises us and his advice affects the heart. On reflection we see many aspects of each such conclusion.
Hazrat Maulawi Burhan ud Din Jhelumi Sahib. His first meeting with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is a most interesting account. He arrived at Qadian to meet the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) but learnt that he had gone to Gurdaspur, so he travelled there. The residence where the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was staying in Gurdaspur had an adjacent garden. Hamid Ali Sahib was at the door and did not allow Burhan Sahib to enter but he surreptitiously managed to get to the door. As he slowly opened the door he saw the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) having a brisk walk. Burhan Sahib stepped back. He realised there and then that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was a truthful person who had to reach a far-off destination and this was the reason for his brisk walk.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) observed that Burhan Sahib was an erstwhile Wahhabi and they are known to be harsh. But Burhan Sahib did not seek Quranic proof, or proof from Ahadith. Indeed, Wahhabi stance is that after the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) doors to Divine revelations are closed. They also maintain that, God forbid, saints and Prophets of God do not have any exceptional excellence. It is in refutation of this wrong concept that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said Prophets of God are like rainfall, they have luminosity of a very high degree and are an amalgamation of excellences…it is wicked to consider them the same as ordinary people. Love for Prophets of God and saints increases one's strength of faith.
Indeed, Hazrat Burhan ud Din Sahib considered the Promised Messiah's (on whom be peace) brisk walk a sign of his truthfulness. This was special grace of God because there are those who do not accept even after being given strong arguments and signs. Of course not all Wahhabis are hard-hearted. Thousands in Africa have been convinced of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and have taken bai'at. They appreciate the significance of Divine revelation and realise that Prophets of God and saints are like rainfall which keeps the earth green and verdant and that Divine revelation is necessary for spiritual lushness.
Hazrat Saith Abdul Rahman Sahib Madrassi. He became an Ahmadi during the lifetime of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and was a most sincere person with great keenness for Tabligh. The Promised Messiah used to relate an account of his most tender-heartedly. Saith Sahib was very well off in the early days and used to make huge financial sacrifice for faith and send rupee 300 to 500 every month as his donation. He made some bad business decision which resulted in ruination of his business. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had a revelation about him: 'Almighty is He. He sets right a ruined project and breaks up a running one. None has access to His secret.' (Tadhkirah, p. 424). It was understood from the first line of the revelation that Saith Sahib's business will recover while no one thought about the second line. Some two to three years after the loss occurred, Saith Sahib's business took off once again but then it nose-dived yet again. So much so that he did not have enough for basic needs like food and drink. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) once spoke of Saith Sahib with much love and said he was extremely sincere and loyal. Saith Sahib had sent rupee 500. Seeing his predicament a friend gave him two or three thousand rupee out of which Saith Sahib sent 500 and explained in a letter that he had not been able to send chanda (donation) for a long period but now his sense of honour could not tolerate not sending some for the cause of faith.
Once the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) received a money order from a non-Ahmadi. He had written that Saith Sahib was his friend whom he considered to be a holy person and was devoted to him. He had seen Saith Sahib very sad one day and on asking was told that when he had money he used to send regularly to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) for the cause of faith but could not do so any more. The person wrote that this had moved him and he had decided to send rupee 200 to 300 every month. Once Saith Sahib sent a few hundred rupee and when asked how did he manage to send it he wrote that he had taken some money from a friend to pay off a loan which made him think to send a little to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) as well.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) says that since the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had challenged all religions Christians and Hindus were severely opposed to him and tried to disgrace him and filed numerous court cases against him. Once the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had to attend court daily during the working week for three months running where he had to stand in the court for several hours at a time. Once owing to his enmity a magistrate did not even allow him to have a drink of water. Today we have forgotten these matters but for the sincere Ahmadis of the time these were great trials. On the one hand they heard Divine revelations like 'Kings will seek blessings from your garments' and on the other hand they observed that a jobsworth Hindu magistrate did not even allow the Promised Messiah a drink of water! Who made him stand for hours so much so that he felt dizzy and his feet ached. Those weak of faith would have wondered could this possibly be the person about whom all the Divine promises were made!
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) says he remembers the day the verdict of a court case was going to be passed. An Ahmadi friend was popularly known as Professor by everyone. Before becoming an Ahmadi he was an avid gambler who made a lot of money every month playing cards. He gave this up after accepting Ahmadiyyat and started keeping a small shop. His love and devotion for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was great and owing to this he happily endured poverty. He would do Tabligh to his customers during which he would start arguing with them. A complaint was made to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) about this who explained to him most affectionately that we are commanded to remain gentle. The Professor's face went red, he listened quietly but then said that he could not abide by this advice. He said when someone said something to the Promised Messiah's Pir (the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be on him) he either challenged him with prayer duel (mubahala) or wrote books in response but asked him to stay quiet! This may appear impertinent but it shows the intense love Professor had for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).
At the time of verdict, people were sure the magistrate would give a harsh sentence, even imprisonment, a thought which Ahmadis could not even contemplate. There was extra security around the court on the day. When the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) arrived Ahmadis stopped Professor from going inside the court because he was quick-tempered. He had hidden a large stone under a tree. He screamed and cried highly charged with emotion and ran towards the court with the stone. Had other Ahmadis not stopped him he would have hit the magistrate with it. He had assumed that the magistrate would definitely give a guilty verdict and as such wanted to lash out.
Some people do react in this way under such circumstances. Those who are weak of faith deviate, the sincere have their faith strengthened and those who react emotionally try and think of ways to get even. However, the education and training of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) as demonstrated by his own blessed example is to be patient and steadfast. In the end what God has promised will come to pass and the steadfast will experience it.
Some people ask about certain days, calling some days auspicious and others ill-fated, ill-omened. People also give reference of the Promised Messiah in this regard or Hazrat Amman Jan's. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that Hazrat Amman Jan (may Allah be pleased with her) asked him not to travel on a Wednesday based on a dream or some superstition of hers. There is no other significance of this. Explaining with reference to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Hazrat Musleh Maud says that he was told that the Promised Messiah considered some days inauspicious, ill-fated. That Hazrat Musleh Maud had himself said in an address that perhaps the Promised Messiah had received a revelation regarding Tuesday or there was some other reason behind him not liking the day. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) replied he had said what he had said only in elucidating a tradition. He had not said that Tuesday was an inauspicious day. Since the tradition was associated with the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Musleh explained that if this tradition was to be considered correct then perhaps his inclination about Tuesday was because he was going to pass away on a Tuesday. But some people made this matter, which was specific to the Promised Messiah's person, a ruling and were convinced of the inauspiciousness of Tuesday. Indeed, to consider something that is from God as ill-fated is extremely foolish. The tradition referred to the inauspiciousness of the passing away of the Promised Messiah on a Tuesday. Otherwise, each day is from God Who has blessed each day. If there is any tradition contrary to this we will consider that the narrator of the tradition has been mistaken or we will consider that owing to humanness sometimes there is superstition, perhaps the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had such an experience regarding Tuesday, but we will not say that any day is ill-fated. The reality is that as a principle God has stated in the Holy Qur'an that all days are blessed.
Relating an account of contrasting traits of too much humbleness and harshness of viewpoint Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said Hafiz Muhammad Sahib was a passionate person from the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who was rigid in his thoughts. Once, on returning home to Peshawar after attending Jalsa at Qadian conservation on fear and awe of God was under discussion. A person praised God and said he wondered if God accepted our Salat, our fasting, our Zakat and Hajj. Another person also praised God and said he wondered if he was even a momim (true believer) or not. Hearing this Hafiz Sahib asked, do you consider yourself a momim or not? The man replied he could not say with certainty. Hafiz Sahib replied, fine I am not going to offer Salat behind you. People said to Hafiz Sahib that the man was right; station of belief was a lofty one. Hafiz Sahib replied, fine, I am not going to offer Salat with/behind any one of you. Thus on return to Peshawar he did exactly that and refused to offer Salat in congregation saying he could not do so because they had said they were not sure about being momim. When the matter escalated the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was informed. He said Hafiz Sahib is right but it was his mistake to stop offering Salat with the others. People had not committed any kufr (act of disbelief). However, people of our Jama'at should have thought positively about themselves and continued to improve. But it is not right to deny being a momim.
These days during the summer months here in Europe one sees people wearing scanty clothing and exposing a lot of flesh. God has stated that clothing enhances beauty but society today considers nakedness as fashionable. It was in the news recently that a group of Muslim girls was cycling somewhere and when they felt hot while cycling they took their clothes off. So, a time has come when it is not considered erroneous for Muslims to inherently expose some parts of their body on the basis of morals. There was a time when a large section of society considered it inherently and morally wrong, in particular Muslims. Nakedness and exposure in the days of Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) was perhaps 70% to 80% less than today. Yet, a painter of that time wrote about it. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that a famous British painter wrote an article in which he addressed women and said that European women tended to expose their bodies more and more. He wrote that as a painter he had seen the naked human form of both men and women more than others. As an artist he advised that naked body does not enhance beauty, in fact at times such women are considered unattractive in the sight of men. Therefore if women exposed their bodies to hear praise of their beauty, at times rather than praise they instil repulsion. Thus was the advice of a European artist and it is indeed a rational, weighty advice. These days even men keep strange appearances which are not dignified. Even if a proverbial handful of people get together and make a stance in the name of freedom it is given importance and this has made society immoral in the collective sense. Today's painters could perhaps not say what the painter of seventy years ago did and could not give an honest opinion. In fact no one would dare do so and this is why morality is diminishing. Nakedness is identified as beauty. It should be remembered that beauty is not nakedness or what is apparent. It is indeed something else.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that during the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) and Hazrat Maulawi Abdul Karim Sahib were having a discussion. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) maintained that it was not easy to recognise beauty and only a physician was capable of it. Maulawi Abdul Karim Sahib said that every person could recognise human beauty but the counter argument was that only a physician knows and others can be mistaken in their viewpoint. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) asked if Maulawi Sahib saw anyone who he deemed to be handsome among the men who were around and he pointed to a young man. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) said he may be in your sight but he has defective bone structure. He asked the young man to lift his shirt and his terrible defective bone structure was exposed. Thus God has commanded to cover up with clothes so that mankind may look good but people are turning away from this!
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) related an account of an Ahmadi who was affectionately known as Philosopher by everyone because he found a new point in everything said. He said that people have made a big deal of the fact that if you stop eating sehri a little later than the set time your fast is not right and proper. He maintained that so what if a person who is not going to eat for twelve hours keeps eating sehri five minutes after the set time and extensively argued this. Next morning he came to see Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) in a perturbed state and said last night Maulawis told him that fast is not right and proper if you keep eating five minutes after sehri time finishes but he had maintained that it did not matter if one kept eating five minutes after finishing time. When he went to bed he had a dream. The man was a weaver so his dream was based on his work. He dreamed that he is trying to prepare to arrange yarn on his apparatus to start weaving but no matter how much he tries and pulls and tugs his yarn falls short just by an inch. He feels as if all his yarn is wasted and has fallen in dust. The man understood from his dream that God made him understand that if his yarn was spoiled merely by being an inch or so short, how could it be all right to fast by continuing to eat after sehri time had passed!
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say that once it was asked in a gathering if anyone had eaten bread made of wheat. People usually ate bread made of millet and oats in those days as the Sikhs used to seize all wheat. No one said they had eaten bread made of wheat. Only one person said wheat bread was very tasty. He was asked if he had eaten it. He replied, no, he had only seen someone really relishing it as he ate it, so he had assumed it must be delicious. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said some people are very fond of eating chicken. Hazrat Chaudhry Zafrulla loved to eat leg of chicken as did the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) though he said he did not like eating it due to some dental problem. Some things are liked a lot by people and they are lucky if they get them, but these things are ordinary and insignificant. There is no doubt that if one believes in God and finds Him, one can say with certainty and conviction that one does not need anything anymore.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) often used to relate a sufi's adage which said: you either hold onto someone's cloak or someone's cloak covers you up. That is to say, the way of the world is such that there is no option other than either you becoming someone's or someone becoming yours. Even before getting to the age of awareness a child wants to become someone's, puberty comes much, much later. Little girls play with dolls calling them their dolls and in our culture little girls do play weddings of their dolls. Emulating their mothers they shower love on their dolls and cuddle them. Boys are attached to mothers and after marriage to their wives. This is what God refers to in the verse: 'Created man from an adhesive clot' (96:3). There is no sense of satisfaction for man besides this. The best scenario is of course that man becomes God's and tries for it. This way he will benefit both temporally and spiritually.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said one of his late teachers, Maulawi Muhammad Yar Sahib had obsessive love for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). He started associating every prophecy of the Promised Messiah with his own person. In his desire to be physically close by to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) he sometimes did unwarrantable things. For example during Salat he would stroke the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). In light of this the Promised Messiah appointed people to keep an eye on him during days when he was particularly obsessive and not let him come in the Promised Messiah's vicinity.
When the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) spoke or delivered lecture he had the habit of motioning his hand towards his thighs. When he moved his hand in this manner Maulawi Yar Muhammad Sahib jumped up and came close to him. When asked why he did so he would say the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had gestured him to come close to him. Thus was his obsessive love for the Promised Messiah that he even considered his reflex actions to mean a beckoning gesture. We claim to love God but in spite of His clear declaration to: 'come to Prayer and come to prosperity' we do not pay attention! Each Ahmadi should try and respond to God's call like ardent devotees and jump up in obeisance. Its school holidays now and children bring along their parents [to the mosque], later attendance lessens. This is a reminder. May God enable us to safeguard and establish our Salat!