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Auto(biography) Section > Biographies > The Biography of Muhammad Ahmad Sahib [son of Maulana Muhammad Ali] (#1)

Biography of Muhammad Ahmad Sahib:
The Light (March 8, 1981, pp. 7-11)
by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui
Appeared as: 'Muhammad Ahmad'

That was the name of the elder son of the late Maulana Muhammad Ali, author of the world-famous English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran, the book "Religion of Islam" and so many other gems of literature on Islam. Muhammad Ahmad has now joined his parents in the Other World. The deceased was my nephew. What the family has lost and suffered by the premature death of this gem of a man is our personal sorrow, which we have no right to inflict on the readers of this journal. But the loss to Islam and Ahmadiyyat deserves to be mentioned, particularly as I hope and pray that Muhammad Ahmad's example may inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

Muhammad Ahmad was by nature shy, sedate and humble. To others, he was gentle, considerate, and helpful. I have seldom seen such a well-behaved young man, so self-effacing and yet so full of sterling qualities of the head and heart. After an outstanding educational record, with a double M.A. in English and Arabic, he joined the Superior Railway Service. He had an unblemished record of scrupulous honesty, hard work and conscientiousness in the discharge of his official duties. At his funeral, some of his superior Railway officers were present. I heard remarks from them such as "I had never seen an officer of such integrity and sense of responsibility"; "He was a perfect gentleman"; "He never did anything wrong or unworthy".

He would work late into the evenings or nights, sometimes for his official duties, but sometimes also for his other love -- service of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. In the latter cause, his contribution was multifarious, but special mention must be made of "Mujahid-e-Kabeer", the biography of the late Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib -- a saint, founder of the Lahore Ahmadiyyat Jamaat, and a world-famous author of books on Islam and Ahmadiyyat which are and will remain immortal. In compiling this perfect biography of that great man, Muhammad Ahmad must have done months, nay years, of research and extensive reading of all the books, journals, letters and other literature having bearing on the period in which his father played such an outstanding role in the religious history of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. The marshalling and arrangement of the relevant material he thus gathered and put into his book could not have been bettered.

Service to Holy Quran:
Muhammad Ahmad's work in the revision of the seventh edition of the English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran, now under print, was equally painstaking. For that revision, the original spadework done by Dr. Zahid Aziz of Nottingham University, England, was the most thorough job I have ever seen. But to collate and give final shape to the suggestions made by Dr. Zahid Aziz and several others, Muhammad Ahmad spent long evenings with me after his office hours. He was known for hard work during office hours too. But he did not seek relaxation and rest, much as he deserved them. For him official duties and after that his labour of love in the service of Islam brooked no relaxation or rest.

He had also completed a new edition of the English translation of the Holy Quran (without the Arabic text) for more extensive propagation of the Holy Book, being lesser in cost. He had done work, in addition, on the revision of the book "Religion of Islam", another world-famous work of his father's. He had collected his father's Friday and Eid sermons and letters to his followers which were published in the Paigham Sulh, the Urdu weekly of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat. It was his intention to edit them before they were printed. I can say from life-long experience that those sermons were a great source of spiritual inspiration and enlightenment to listeners and readers, besides containing a lot of knowledge and insight into religious matters. The work of editing and compiling them will be a great service to Islam and Ahmadiyyat, whoever completes the work initiated by Muhammad Ahmad.

Foreign Correspondence:
After office hours, Muhammad Ahmad would sit late into nights, sometimes well past midnights, to attend to cases arising out of the affairs of the foreign branches of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam, particularly the one in the United Kingdom. His grasp of a particularly complicated and long drawn-out case was masterly. And he attended to it even during his final illness.

On my return from the golden jubilee of the Suriname (South America) branch of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat, I prepared a scheme for better co-ordination and closer connection between the Central Anjuman and its foreign branches. Before the Central Anjuman finally approved the scheme, Muhammad Ahmad happened to see it. He came to me and volunteered: "I will do this work, uncle." I replied, "Nobody could do it better than you." But he fell ill soon afterwards and passed away. What an irreparable loss!

Supreme Sacrifice:
Muhammad Ahmad was working in the cause of Islam even when he was in Railway service. For that he had to, work after office hours and even on holidays. But that was not enough. When he was about to retire from Railway service, he got attractive and lucrative offers for other employment. His reply was "No, thank you, but I now want to dedicate my life to the whole-time service of Islam and Ahmadiyyat." For a man (and his family) who could live only frugally and with considerable financial stringency on his basic pay, here was an opportunity to live more comfortably. But Muhammad Ahmad, already working for Islam and Ahmadiyyat, was now ripe for still more useful service to these noble causes. And he did not hesitate to make the supreme sacrifice of this world for the Hereafter. He had proved by deed the oral pledge we all Ahmadis take, as prescribed by the Founder (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib), that we will place "religion above the world."

Religious Observance:
Unless illness or absence from the place prevented him, Muhammad Ahmad was regular in attending Friday and Eid congregations, the Jalsa (annual gathering of the community) or any other meeting, the Holy Quran Daras lessons) and the meetings of the Executive Committee of the Anjuman or its General Council meetings. In the last two-named meetings his contribution was always sensible, balanced and sometimes brilliant -- reminding us of the times when his late father used to preside over these meetings with enviable wisdom and sublime insight.

It was with some difficulty that Muhammad Ahmad was persuaded to address a Friday congregation and the annual Jalsa. His sermon and speech respectively amazed the audience with his knowledge, ability and perfection of presentation, raising hopes that one day he would make outstanding contribution to the intellectual and spiritual leadership of the community. Alas! That was not to be. And that is the most grievous aspect of the great loss the community has suffered in his death.

Filial Service:
The Holy Prophet said: "Paradise lies at the feet of your mothers." And I can say without exaggeration that few sons served their mothers better than Muhammad Ahmad. When his mother was widowed, and she lived mostly alone and was ailing most of the time, Muhammad Ahmad visited her religiously everyday after his office hours. When I say "everyday" I mean it with no exaggeration. Rain, hailstorm, severe heat or cold did not deter him. Even if there were an official meeting, Anjuman's meeting or Daras (Holy Quran lesson) or other engagements, he would not miss his daily visit to his mother even if it were late in the evening. As she was ailing most of the time, he always checked up whether she was getting proper medical attention and medicines. He would also attend to her household chores, which had been left undone. On some occasions when my wife and I visited her, we found her sleeping under the effect of a sleeping pill given to her by her doctor, with Muhammad Ahmad just sitting near her with nobody to even talk to. His sense of duty to his widowed mother was so outstanding that nobody could fail to be impressed, nay be amazed at it. The way he served his widowed mother over a period of 27 years in spite of so many other calls on his time, is alone sufficient to entitle him to paradise, according to the saying of the Holy Prophet.

The Holy Quran says:

"And think not of those who are killed in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they are alive being provided sustenance from their Lord : Rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace. And they also rejoice for those who, (being left) behind them, have not yet joined them, that they have no fear, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice for Allah's favours (which they receive) and His grace and that Allah wastes not the reward of the believers" (3:168-170).

These verses are commonly understood to apply to martyrs who fall in the field of battle. The Companions of the Holy Prophet took the same view when he once asked them as to what a martyr was. "In that case," said the Holy Prophet, "the martyrs among my followers will be very few." Then he went onto explain that a martyr in the way of Allah was not only the one who falls in the field of battle fighting in the way of Allah, but also the one who dies even a natural death working in the way of Allah.

In the light of the above sublime explanation of the Holy Prophet's, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Muhammad Ahmad was also a martyr. For he was working in the way of Allah even when he was in Government service and had dedicated his life wholly to the service of Islam after his retirement. May his soul rest in eternal peace and bliss. Ameen.

An Appeal:
As I said at the beginning of this article, my object in writing it is to invite the readers to follow in the footsteps of Muhammad Ahmad. To that end, may I submit certain guidelines to them:

(a) If you are already in any service or business, even then make the service of Islam and Ahmadiyyat the ultimate object of your life. If you are sincere in this resolve, Allah will give you an opportunity to serve Him sooner or later.

(b) Prepare yourself for that great honour and inner happiness by leading a virtuous life.

(c) Find time to study the Holy Quran, and the Hadith and other literature on Islam and Ahmadiyyat, which is available from the Central Anjuman of Lahore.

(d) Find time to serve Allah even before you finally dedicate your life to His service. Muhammad Ahmad did so, as I have tried to explain above.

(e) Pray to Allah to enable you to serve Him. There is no greater honour or joy to be had. Paradise begins in this very life in such service, within your heart.

This page was printed from the 'Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-e-Islam Lahore (Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam)'
located at
http://aaiil.org or http://www.aaiil.org

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