The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement In Islam
Hazrat Sahibzada Abdul Latif Shaheed
In Khost (Afghanistan) there lived a very learned and righteous man Sahibzada Abdul Latif who belonged to a well-to-do family of landowners. He lived a virtuous life of prayer and meditation and experienced visions and received Divine communications. He was respected far and wide and even the Amir (ruler) of Afghanistan honoured him. As it happened some books of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib reached his hands, and being a wise and learned man he felt that it was time for a Mujaddid `Reformer or Renovator` to appear and he could very well be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi as well. He planned to go on Pilgrimage `Hajj` to Mecca via India, and thought that he could also pay a fleeting visit to Qadian to see Hazrat Mirza Sahib. He came to Qadian, saw Mirza Sahib and talked to him. He was convinced of the truth of his claim and entered his bai‘at `Pledge`. He was so absorbed in his love and pleasure in the company of Hazrat Mirza Sahib that he missed the last boat connection to go by sea to perform Hajj at Mecca. So he stayed on in Qadian for several months and benefited a lot in gaining knowledge and inspiration for his soul. Then, according to his companion, Ahmad Noor by name, he received an ilham (Divine Communication) saying: "Sacrifice your head in the way of the Lord, and don’t hesitate, as God has willed it so, for the betterment of the land of Kabul (capital of Afghanistan)." He at last resolved to return home and sought permission of the Promised Messiah. He reluctantly gave it, and accompanied Sahibzada Sahib for some miles on his way out from Qadian. At last the time of parting came and Sahibzada Sahib fell at the feet of the master, saying that the reason for his sadness and restlessness was that he was sure that he would not see the master again in this world’s life. With tearful eyes he at last bade goodbye and went away. Before entering the boundary of Afghanistan, he waited and sent a letter to Amir Habib Ullah Khan at Kabul, asking permission to enter. The Amir had already been poisoned by the orthodox Mullahs against Sahibzada Sahib. The permission was at last given, but trickery was afoot, as before he entered Kabul, the Amir’s soldiers surrounded him and took him before the Amir. There he was scolded and threatened and ordered to recant on pain of death. Sahibzada Sahib refused to do so and offered to debate the issue with a party of orthodox Mullahs. To this the Amir agreed and a debate was arranged between nine Mullahs on one side and Sahibzada Sahib on the other. The judge who presided over the function was a Punjabi doctor who happened to be a sworn enemy of the Ahmadiyya Community. The discussion was done in writing and chits `pieces of paper` were exchanged, but the contents of the papers were never read out to the audience. So nobody knew as to what was being discussed and who said what. Finally the judge gave the verdict against Sahibzada Sahib, who was shackled in iron chains and taken to a dark dungeon in the Fort. The Amir never sent for the written papers to read and judge for himself. Before signing the final verdict on Sahibzada Sahib being declared a kafir `non-believer` and therefore sentenced to being stoned to death, the Amir again sent for Sahibzada Sahib and told him to recant `step back on his stance` or face death. Sahibzada Sahib, being true to his faith, refused and so was condemned to die. On the day fixed for execution, Sahibzada Sahib was dragged by a rope tied to a ring pierced through his nose and taken to the place of execution. He was finally told to recant but again he refused; thereupon he was buried up to his waist in a pit dug in the ground. The Amir and the judge threw the first stones which hit the head of Sahibzada Sahib and grievously wounded him, with the blood spurting out of the wounds the head bent forward. Then there was a virtual raid of stones and before long the body was covered under a heap of stones. Sahibzada Sahib died a martyr’s death, on 14th July, 1903. However, before the pelting of the stones had started and after Sahibzada Sahib had refused to recant, he was seen to raise his eyes to heaven and recite the following Quranic prayers -- "Our Lord, make not our hearts to deviate after Thou hast guided us and grant us mercy from Thee; Surely Thou art the most liberal Giver" (3:7). "O Lord, Thou art my friend in this world and the Hereafter. Make me die in submission and join me with the righteous" (12:10 ). It is said that on the evening, following the martyrdom, the sky became red; and on the following day a virulent epidemic of cholera broke out in Kabul and thereabouts, and hundreds of people died daily. Those who had a hand in this cruel drama did not escape free. On the fortieth day after execution, a disciple of Sahibzada Sahib, Ahmad Noor by name, came with some friends and removed the body of Sahibzada Sahib and after saying the funeral prayers, buried it. It may be noted that Amir Habib Ullah Khan was later on shot to death; and his dynasty was forcibly ended by Bachha Saqqah, the bandit chieftain.
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