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Auto(biography) Section > Biographies > Hazrat Asadullah Shah Sahib

Biography of Hazrat Asadullah Shah Sb.:
Taken from 'I Beseech Thee -- O Lord!' by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui (pp. 64 - 73).

Chapter X

The greater a man’s faith in God and the nearer he is to Him, the more are his prayers answered. According to this criterion, the man proved the best and the highest, was the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. You read the life-story of the Holy Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and you would find how God’s grace covered him and favoured him in his day to day living. In fact, many a things he did, the decisions he made and the talks he gave were through God’s guidance which descended upon his heart. In Islamic terminology it is called Wahy-i-khafi. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the best exemplar and the highest model of virtue (personified) for the ‘faithful’ under all circumstances. The verse 33:21 in the Holy Quran supports this statement: "Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Latter day, and remembers Allah much."

After the Holy Prophet came his four exalted caliphs (Khula-fa-al-Rashi-deen), and later on came the mujaddids of each century (Hijrah). Of course, there were holy men (auliya-Allah) to be found more or less at all times amongst the Muslim ummah after the Holy Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. These were righteous men and some of them had risen to a stage where God chose them to be the recipients of his messages at times. Some of them (especially the mujaddids) proclaimed to the Muslim people of what they received and heard from ‘On High’, while others kept it to themselves.

Of those Mujaddids who were directed by God to proclaim themselves, the latest was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (of Qadian -- India) who was not only the ordained Mujaddid of the 14th century (Hijrah), but also claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (whose advent was expected by people of different religions). He founded the Ahmadiyyah Movement in Islam to defend the Faith and propagate it. Many thousands of Muslims (including non-Muslims who accepted Islam) entered his bai’at (Pledge of Fealty) to serve the faith of Islam. He claimed to be a humble follower of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, the last (final) and the best of the Prophets.

Amongst those who accepted him were many righteous men. About one of them I want to write in particular, as he was the one whom I knew intimately and from whose prayers I myself, my family and our mutual friends benefited considerably. He was one of those chosen few, holy men with whom God speaks (through His angels) and who are favoured with visions and true and vivid dreams. As he deserved the favour of God through worship, meditation and exemplary conduct, so his prayers were often favourably answered. My object in writing about him is not only to express my gratitude for his prayers for me in the past (as he is gone to his heavenly abode now), but also to impress upon the readers the fact that anybody who has a sincere faith in God, His prophets and the Holy Quran, and leads a righteous life, could be favoured by God (if He so wills) with visions and true dreams, etc. The holy man in question was one Syed Asadullah Shah (may Allah’s peace be on him).

My father was posted as an Assistant Surgeon incharge of the Civil Hospital at Pindi Gheb (Punjab) about 1903 C.E. One day, a medium-sized, bearded young man of about 30 years of age came to the hospital for consultation with the doctor (my father) and introduced himself as Syed Asadullah Shah working as Girdawar Qanungo (like a head clerk) in the local tehsil (land revenue collector’s office). Both of them took to each other and soon found out that they both belonged to the same Ahmadiyyah Movement. My father prevailed on Shah Sahib to shift his residence to a quarter attached to my father’s bungalow, so that they could say their five daily congregational prayers together in the small mosque at the hospital.

Shah Sahib came of a respectable land-owning Syed family of Sialkot district, and had finished his education in a high school and then joined Government service. He was religiously inclined from his boyhood, which led him to investigate about the claims of Mirza Sahib, and finding them true, he joined his followers. During his stay in Pindi Gheb we all soon found out that Shah Sahib was one of those chosen few whom God favours; and then there was no end to the requests for prayers from all members of our family. When we, the children, pestered him with trivial requests, as I now realise, he would in good humour ask us to bring him some halwa (sweet pudding) to eat so that he may feel better able to pray for us. We would get our mother to prepare the staff and then take it eagerly to Shah Sahib. This relationship of love, admiration and close friendship and mutual help continued on for all our lives; even when we happened to live apart and later on got into service or business and had our own families. But whenever anyone of us was in trouble or ill, forthwith would go a telegram to Shah Sahib to pray for us. He always obliged and would inform us if he received any indication for or against. Quite often we were benefited. I will mention a few typical cases later on.

Here I may mention one incident which throws light on the sterling character and faith of Shah Sahib. The midday prayer on a Friday is an obligatory congregational prayer. Shah Sahib used to leave his work in the Tehsil Office when he heard the azan (call to prayer) on Friday noon, and went to the mosque. In those days, no interval (as a concession) was given to Government Muslim employees for saying the Friday prayer in the mosque. So the tehsildar (officer in charge) a Sikh by religion, reprimanded Shah Sahib for leaving his work at midday, on Friday. Shah Sahib told him about the importance of the Friday prayer, and also made clear that on that day he (Shah Sahib) sat after office hours to finish that day’s work. But the prejudiced Sikh tehsildar forbade Shah Sahib to leave office. On this Shah Sahib wrote his resignation from his job and gave it to the Tehsildar; saying: ‘When the Lord God calls I must obey, though it may be disobedience to your man-made rules’. The tehsildar, knowing the worth and honest work of Shah Sahib, did not accept the resignation and allowed Shah Sahib to leave office at midday, on Friday, in future.

Chapter XI

Prayer # 1: It was in Gujar Khan (District Rawalpindi, Punjab), where I had gone with my mother who was visiting her father, a police official there, that I caught cold and was soon sick with pneumonia. I was about 8 or 9 years old then. My father who was elsewhere, was informed by telegram and hastened to my side. My father, being a physician, knew that there was no specific cure for pneumonia (as in those days antibiotics were unknown) and it had to run its course and the crisis came on the seventh day, when the patient may survive if he was strong enough and was well looked after, or he may die. My father had informed Shah Sahib by telegram about my sickness and requested him to pray for my recovery. Before the critical seventh day arrived, a letter from Shah Sahib came, saying that he had tearfully and steadily prayed for me and was informed: "(The boy) will become an Assistant Engineer", It puzzled him at first, but on further thought he realised that it was a glad tiding for not only the complete recovery of the boy from illness, but that he will grow up to manhood and enter the engineering profession. I became well again.

In later years, I chose such courses of study in my school and college terms as would enable me to enter the engineering profession; but my wish was not fulfilled.

It was by chance (after graduating from College) that I happened to see a news item in a Lahore newspaper, that one Muslim Association of America, in California U.S.A., was inviting applications from suitable Muslim students for engineering study in U.S.A. They would pay their sea passage and give scholarships for one year till they are able to support themselves. I typed an application along with copies of certificates and together with a passport-sized photo, sent it by registered post to the Association. Since I had little hope of winning in this competition, so I forgot all about it. It was in the last quarter of the year 1920 C.E. that news came through the Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam, Lahore, that I was one of the lucky students selected.

In due course, we landed on U.S.A. soil and after having reported to the Association were sent to the Oregon State University. There I took up Electrical Engineering, in which I graduated in 1925. I later on joined the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co., at East Pittsburgh; and after about one and half year’s training, returned back home to India in 1927 C.E. In 1929 I was selected by the Indian Public Service Commission for an officer’s post in the India State Railways. I finally retired in 1963 C.E. as Deputy Chief Engineer (Signals and Telecommunications) of the Pakistan Railways (which was named as such in August 1947).

Shah Sahib had retired from service in the early ‘forties’ and had finally migrated to Lahore and settled there. He sure was glad to see his protégé getting on in the world.

Prayer # 2: When posted in Calcutta, my wife, on the birth of my second son in 1933 C.E., through the carelessness of the midwife attending, contracted tetanus. It was on the third day that it was detected when her jaws could not be opened and muscular spasms contracted her back now and then. The prescribed injections were given, but it is such a terrible disease that it often proves fatal. I had, of course, sent a telegram to my father, and to Shah Sahib, informing them about this illness and requested them to pray for my wife’s recovery. I myself prayed tearfully in prostration. The next few days passed in great anxiety and the treatment contained. A letter from Shah Sahib came in which he had stated that he had virtually spent a whole night praying tearfully for the Lord God to have mercy. He heard words saying: "The murderous weapon will not slay!" My wife did recover, though she remained an invalid for a long time to come.

Prayer # 3: My mother, aged about 58 years, fell ill with pneumonia in 1932 C.E., at Dalhousie (India). There were no antibiotics then available, so my father, being a physician, did all that he could. A telegram was sent to Shah Sahib for prayer. On the seventh day came the crisis of the disease, but my mother survived and started recovering. In the meantime, a letter came from Shah Sahib saying that he prayed and prayed, but the answer came: "Paradise has been brought nigh!"; so he was afraid that she may not recover. This upset my father a lot, but he waited hopefully. All of a sudden my mother suffered a relapse and after a few days breathed her last. God’s will be done!

Prayer # 4: My eldest son A. Zafar had passed his M.A. Examination from Punjab University with distinction. He started looking for a job and wrote to Shah Sahib to pray for him, which he did as he liked the boy. He was given the glad tidings that the boy would lead a meritorious life and would be appointed as a Deputy Commissioner of a district. My son, later on, sat for the Civil Service Examination, passed it with distinction and joined the Civil Service of Pakistan; and served as a Deputy Commissioner as well.

I apologise for mentioning again and again my family affairs, but since Shah Sahib was intimately attached to our family, so I can describe these events with surety and personal knowledge. Now I will mention few other remarkable cases of the predictions or prayers as answered by God and intimated through this holy man.

Prayer # 5: It was in 1942, during the course of the Second World War, that Shah Sahib in one of his nightly prayers was informed: "King Farouk (of Egypt) dethroned". There was no sign of anything of the kind in Egypt at the time. This prediction was published in ‘The Light’ weekly (May 16, 1942) of Lahore. Some years later, in July 1952, events so turned up in Egypt that King Farouk was made to resign his high rank. The fulfilment of the prophecy was again published in ‘The Light’ weekly of 24th September 1952.

Prayer # 6: One remarkable incident was reported by Zauq Akhtar of Swat (as published in the monthly magazine ‘Ruh-ul-Islam’ of Lahore in July 1957). His cousin was implicated in a murder case and was sentenced to death, in June 1955, by the Session Judge of Abbottabad (Hazara - Pakistan). Shah Sahib being at Abbottabad at the time was approached to pray for the condemned man so that at least the death sentence may be commuted to life imprisonment. Shah Sahib prayed and what he saw in a vision gave him the hope that on appeal this would come about. But both the appeals in the High Court, Peshawar and the Federal Court of Pakistan were rejected. The man’s relatives appealed for mercy to the then Governor General of Pakistan at Karachi, as a last resort, this time the petition was prepared well and properly so that the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Prayer # 7: When the resolution for the establishment of Pakistan was passed in March 1940 at Lahore, by a representative gathering of Muslims, Shah Sahib continued praying for the fulfilment of the same, in spite of several periods of depression and hopelessness that were experienced, before the deed was accomplished on 14th August, 1947. Shah Sahib had of course been informed before hand that the Muslim cause will succeed.

Later on, the predominantly Muslim-populated state of Jammu and Azad Kashmir was forcibly annexed (through treachery) by Indian (or Bharat) armies. When later on the case came up before the Security Council of U.N.O., then in spite of the resolution by U.N.O. that a fair and free plebiscite of the people of the State to decide whether they wanted to accede to Pakistan or Bharat (India), and with which both Pakistan and Bharat concurred, the Indian armies remained in occupation of the state, in spite of protests of Pakistan.

Pakistan is determined to see that right is done, especially as this affair has embittered the relations between the two countries. Shah Sahib was sorely grieved at this unfortunate turn of events. He kept fasts and prayed for over a year, but he got the indications that this state of affairs will continue for some time (how long God only knows!). But ultimately certain events in the world will happen, which would bring about a situation in which after a conflict between Pakistan and India:

i) Pakistan will gain the upper hand and the southern border of Pakistan would extend as far as Ajmere in Rajputana (India); and,

ii) Kashmir will be freed and would form part of Pakistan.

Let us all wait patiently and hopefully, putting our trust in God and ‘Keeping the gun-powder dry’.

Prayer # 8: Asadullah Shah Sahib was born in 1870 C.E. He was a good and religious-minded boy and did well in his school education. Later on, he joined Government Service. He had married and had four sons. After leading an honest, hard-working and righteous life, and gaining favour in the sight of God, he passed the latter part of his retired life in Lahore, going in Summer to Abbottabad to stay with his friend, Dr. Saeed Ahmad. When in Lahore he frequently came and stayed with me and my family for several days, and blessed us with his company and prayers.

In 1956 C.E. he fell ill and never recovered. He knew the end was drawing nigh but felt no regrets. Till at last, on 14th February 1957, he left for his heavenly abode at the age of 87 years. He has left us all sadder and poorer for the loss of his goodly company and prayers.

See his photographs by clicking here.



Auto(biography) Section > Biographies > Hazrat Asadullah Shah Sahib


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