by Maulana Azhar Haneef
It is one of the most remarkable achievements that I will mention in the course of this presentation today, but at the outset I would like to quote from William Shakespeare. The subject of my speech, actually during the course of his life, achieved one of the distinctions that he had learned or read all of Shakespeare in Arabic. So I thought it will be appropriate to mention one of those statements, which we often hear. Shakespeare said, “Do not fear greatness. Some are borne great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Many people quote this verse of Shakespeare in the course of all kinds of conferences about leadership, in fact. But the reality is that few actually achieve the heights of this greatness. In the case of the subject of my speech today, however, I truly believe that life, legacy of Hazrat Maulana Hakim Nooruddin(ra) we see all these three aspects of this greatness. He was borne in greatness, he achieved greatness and he responded admirably and commendably when greatness was in fact thrust upon him. We all know that next year on 27th May 2008 we will be celebrating 100 years of the anniversary of the institution of Khilafat and it will be a great milestone, enormous blessings for all of us for which we cannot give enough praise and thanks to Allah and yet at the same time it is stated in a hadith,
من لا یشکر الناس لا یشکر اللہ
“Whosoever is ungrateful to man is also ungrateful to Allah.”
So with this spirit and with this intent I would like to take few moments for us altogether as a spiritual family, to reflect to remember, to reflect the great services, the great sacrifices some of those in our past who helped us to where we are today without which perhaps we would not been sitting here at this blessed position of celebrating 100 years of this Institute of Khilafat. The personality as I mentioned is none other than Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra). As I said there are three aspects of greatness. The first is his birth. When we look at the life of Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra), we see such wonderful remarkable blessings that he was given over and above those of his time. Number one, his descend was direct from one of the greatest illuminary spirit of Islam, Hazrat Umar(ra), the third Caliph on his father’s side. His entire blood can be traced back to Hazrat Umar(ra). And also on his mother’s side his line can be traced to back to Hazrat Ali(ra). So by just this alone you can imagine what type of blessings the birth of a child whose blood is linked to these great and powerful figures in the history of all of Islam, the followers and companions of our blessed master, the Holy Prophet(sa), himself. Yet at the same time one of the greatest gifts that all of us received in Islam is the gift of the Qur’an and this is one of the things which distinguished Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra) in his birth that his father and for ten generations before all of them were Huffaz of Qur’an. They all were Hafiz of the Holy Qur’an and had memorized the Holy Qur’an and Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra) was the recipient of this spiritual blessing of being borne in a family when at that time many people had gone away from reading, studying and memorizing the Holy Qur’an. His household was a living MTA where Qur’an was being put in his mind in his spirit as he says while was still in the womb of my mother I can recall the Holy Qur’an being recited and when he was borne his mother taught him the Holy Word and from that point on he developed such a keen love and keen spirit of always seeking greater and greater knowledge of the Holy Qur’an. In fact later on in his life one of the things he says that impressed him the most about his meeting with Hazrat Ahmad(as) was that he found from the lips of this person such pearls of wisdom such beauty, which he had never heard regarding the Holy Qur’an. This was the beginning of the greatness the Maulana. Then there is his life, In the course of just few minutes that I have at my disposal I can only take very few snapshots. As you can do in a family reunion after a long time you open up the photo album and you look at those past snapshots that brings you great joy and admiration of times past. I will share with you just a few glimpses of his life that shows his greatness again. This is a man who had gone to receive certain titles. He will become a Hafiz of the Holy Qur’an. He will then become a Hakim. In fact they will call him Hakimul Ummat. Hakim being not only a saint but the one who has mastered the healing arts and when you look at his life you see that this was the man indeed who had both things at his disposal when it came to healing. For instance, once a lady who was a Hindu who had lost a loved one she kept raising her arms over her head. She did it so many times that her muscles became stiff and in a catatonic state she could not drop her arms back down. Everyone tried all they could do to heal this woman but no one was able to succeed. Finally they asked Hakimul Ummat for the solution and he told them a strange solution, which no one had heard before. He said I want you to go to a town and find the most handsome man you can find and tell him to go inside the room where she is now standing and approach her with strong intent as if he is going to destroy that poor lady, and let us see what happens. The young man went inside the room and there was a sudden shriek and cry and the man ran out When they looked in, the woman was so shocked by this experience that her arms dropped down. She had been cured. One shock cured the woman. This was the wisdom of Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra). That was recognized of course throughout his life by many personalities, by many great leaders, kings and princes and he became ultimately the chief physician of the King, the ruler, the Maharaja of Kashmir and served him for many years and during the course of that time he remained devout simple and a true servant of humanity. He will spend most of the wealth he got, in fact, whenever the first patient would come he rarely will ask for any sum of money. How strange that will be in this day and age of modern medicine that you go to see a doctor and he would not ask you for a bill or he would not ask for a single penny. You just have to see the doctor and then walk away. This was the blessing of the Maulana, But Allah reimbursed him wonderfully by always giving him many gifts. All he did with those gifts was that he would serve humanity, help the poor, help the widows and help the students. This was the Maulana’s way. At one point someone asked him about his quality of life and forgetting about himself and his loved ones and he says and I quote, “Some of my friends tell me that you do not save anything, you have a wife and little children how will they be maintained after your death. I tell them Allah is living, Al-Hai, he is not dead. He knows all things. If I serve Him, will he not look after my amily?” What a living faith. What trust! What a spirit! What a heart! These are the words of those who can only utter them who have true love and faith in God Almighty. Many of his qualities, again in his life, stand out: His love for the Qur’an, his devotion to Prayers. And it can be summarized in the eyes of one of his contemporaries. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who at that time was a social reformer and a very famous educator in India, Someone approached him and asked, “When an illiterate person gains knowledge he becomes educated and when an educated person he increases in knowledge he becomes a Hakim and when a Hakim advances further he becomes a Soofi so please tell me sir what is the case of the one who reaches the height of one who is a Soofi.” Sir Sayed answered and wrote back, “He is transformed then into Nooruddin, a light or faith.” Of course all of his life (I will give a brief snapshot of his life) they are leading to grander purpose and grander awakening of spirit and that awakening was in response to the prayers of a person who was commissioned by God at that time, that is, Hazrat Ahmad(as).
Hazrat Ahmad(as) had a keen desire to have a companion. He once said, “For days and nights together I very humbly supplicated and prayed to my beloved God, ‘O Lord I am alone who will be my helper, an associate, grant me one. When I raised my hands in the morning for supplication the whole heaven was filled with my wailing and my prayers then God in His infinite mercy, granted my prayers and conferred upon me His choicest blessings and He from His Majesty gave me a pious sincere and obedient friend and his name like his brilliant qualities was Nooruddin.” Later again Hazrat Ahmad(as) would say that when he came to me and met me, I beheld him, I realized that he was one of the signs of my Lord and I was convinced that he was the answer to my prayers which I have so persistently offered and I just discovered that he was one of the elect of God. He obeys me in everything as the pulse moves in accord with breathing. I observed that wisdom flows from his lips and heavenly light descends upon him. These are the words I share with you of Hazrat Ahmad(as) because otherwise if one of us were to mention it you might think these are exaggerations, but coming from the mouth of the prophet of the age you will know that it was no exaggeration, it was an extreme blessing to have such a personality in his life at that time and soon that blessing was to be the source of blessing for all of us, the beginning of Khilafat.
The Soofi says again that when one, the prophet or the messenger, the first one to be inspired by God to accept the truth, that is the one upon the death of messenger, when severe earthquake, at the time of great danger takes place, God Almighty provides assurances through that Khalifah. And that quickly revives and strengthens afresh the purpose of the advent of the deceased. In the case of Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra) we know that he was the first who signed the Bai’at to join the Ahmadiyya Movement. He joined him in spirit before 1885. So from 1885, the time he first met Hazrat Ahmad(as), he took bai’at until, his death in 1908, there is a span of 23 years. You can see that this is the same span that existed in the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) who was Siddique, the true friend of our beloved master Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad(sa), and both of them were by their master’s side through thick and thin, giving all they had, the energy, the wealth, the time, their property. Whatever they could to serve the faith and to protect the Master, Hazrat Abu Bakar(ra) was known as the companion of the cave. Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra), he was truly the companion of the Promised Messiah during all those years in Qadian when all the attacks, all the insults were being heaped upon Promised Messiah(as), Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra) was there to stand up and to support his mission.
Allah says about this in the Holy Qur’an:
“And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and they are the Truthful and the Witnesses in the sight of their Lord, they will have their reward and their light. But as for those who disbelieve and reject Our Signs, these are the inmates of Hell.” (57:20)
This is one of the great spiritual ranks that we often overlook to think about the four ranks one can achieve in life the, rank of Salih (the Righteous), the rank of Shaheed (the Martyr) the rank of Siddique (the Truthful) and of course the highest rank of Nabi. And if you look at this whole progression the person just behind the rank of Nabi is Siddique because he is so much aligned with him had spiritual identity with him he becomes his true reflection and shadow and often as in the case of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra). They are the one who become the first inheritors of blessings, their first Khalifahs and bring about a continued reformation of the people to whom they are sent. I say all this now because in conclusion we must think about the greatness being thrust upon Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra). As he said many times in his writings that he never wished to be a Khalifah. At the time of the election of Khalifah he looked around. He saw in the room those who were blood relations to Hazrat Ahmad(as). His son, even his wife, if it were a worldly empire she would inherit or the son will inherit or the father-in-law or the son-in-law. And he said, they will be equal candidates and better than me but with one voice all were rejected. Why! Because of the spirit, the righteousness, the service, the love of the Allah, the love of the Messenger, the love of the Holy Qur’an, the love of the Holy Prophet(sa) and the love of the Promised Messiah(as). Knowing that Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra) was the most righteous amongst them even those who later on would be some of the greatest detractors of the Jama’at and break up and separate, even at that time they would admit that there was none better than Maulana Nooruddin(ra) to take upon the charge. Of course, all of this was the intended purpose of Al-Wasiyyat.
As the previous speaker mentioned Hazrat Ahmad(as) received many revelations about his impending death and as any loving father would do he tried to prepare his family, tried to prepare us. Al-Wasiyyat is a humble attempt to raise our standard, our standing and our spiritual level to prepare ourselves for this great shock and great loss At the same time he will quote the examples from history of the loss which took place in the life of people and how they responded and failed to achieve that dedication that was required of them. For example, he mentioned the case of the death of Jesus Christ and his disciples. And how they all abandoned him during the event of Crucifixion. We know this. Now think about that. This gives an example of what could have happened if we were not prepared. As the death of the Messenger, Jesus Christ is understood they all fled away they all abandoned him That was who is called Paul Peter who was supposed to be the rock of my Church. He himself denied him three times and was hiding with all the rest of his companions. So this was the pressure of the moment it crushed that rock who was supposed to be Peter. As when in the case of Moses again for 40 days the Jews agreed to mourn the loss of Moses, But it is not the case of just Christians and Jews even in the case of the Muslims we know what happened upon the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Other than Hazrat Abu Bakr there was complete pandemonium, grief, shock and chaos and one as strong as even Hazrat Umar was wielding his sword, saying that if anyone dared to claim that his master has died he would take his life. He was asserting that his master Muhammad(sa) was just in a swoon and will return any moment. But by God’s grace at that moment, as we know, Hazrat Abu Bakr came upon the scene and all those conditions that could have destroyed, disintegrated and disunited the Jama’at of early Muslims were resolved. He had the solution and he would eventually be elected as the Khalifah. In this sense, Hazrat Masih Mau’ood, spoke very clearly about the elections and what was to become on May 27th1908, six months later. He said in one of the final intimation in December 1907: satais ko iak waqia hoga hamari mut’allaq Allahu khairun wa Abqa.
On the 27th there will be an incident regarding ourselves and Allah is everlasting He is the best.
It is to this evolution of events that he referring to what would happen thrusting greatness upon Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin and 27th May 1908 when he was called upon the demise of his loving master to step up and to become the leader of the Jama’at in upheaval within the community and the opponents themselves, they had predicted. These were their words, “Nothing now is left with the Mirzais after the demise of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad The movement has lost its head and the person who has become the head only knows the Qur’an and he will only be reading and lecturing on Holy Quran in the Mosque. This was their assessment that with the death of Hazrat Ahmad would be the death of the Movement and they had taken out these parades in the streets of Lahore, which were carrying around dummies of the Jama’at. These were the burial services of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and mocking him and insulting him in all these ways. By Allah’s grace it is under this impetus that He strengthened him throughout his life, in his birth, in his life, finally in his service for his beloved master to strengthen him for the occasion that will require him to set us in a n motion on that path which we now see after 100 years the falseness of all those statements that the Jama’at Ahmadiyya never died with Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and as he said: Allahu khairunwwa abqa
The short Arabic phrase implies that Allah is the Best and the Ever Lasting. This Jama’at, by God’s grace is a solid proof that he was true and Hazrat Maulana Nuruddin was his true friend his true supporter throughout his life I will conclude with his own words and advice to us about Khilafat and what we must do so we can maintain this link and his spirit and our conduct will be of the highest order so it remains amongst us for generations to come.
He says, in the words of Maulana Nooruddin(ra):
“What your duty to Allah is that you should adhere to true doctrines. Your conduct should conform to them and you should be righteous. Righteousness safeguards one against suffering and bestows comfort thus this, the righteous one is delivered from all constraints. He is loved by God and is provided for in a manner of which you have no conception. His prayers are accepted and he is bestowed triumph over his enemies who are ruined. The gates of the divine are opened for righteous ones. Therefore my first admonition is be righteous, be righteous, be righteous for the sake of Allah, and be truly obedient to Allah, and may your end be in a state of obedience to Him.
“So let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission.” (2:133)
This, my dear brothers and sisters was the life and legacy of Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin(ra). This was the message of his life for all of us. If we can step into this spirit and become Nooruddin(ra) when we love God love His Messenger, love His Book, love His ways and let that be our life and our legacy after our death for the next generation to come. May that be our spirit with which we move into the next century of Ahmadiyyat and may that blessing bring about a new century of blessing for Jama’at Ahmadiyya. May Allah help us and guide us and have mercy upon us in all our affairs and efforts.