Thursday, November 3, 2011

Munir A. Azim Sahib: A Born Soldier of Islam

[This is the third article in the series- based on a recent, authorized biographical essay- on the family background of the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius. The first two parts in the series were published here at the Sahih Al Islam Blog on October 24 & 26, 2011.

The events chronicled here provide a fascinating glimpse into the growing up years of the man who would eventually be raised to the august spiritual position of Khalifatullah and Messenger of Allah.  Born into a modest and righteous family of Ahmadi Muslim lineage which had made seminal contributions to the propagation of the message of the previous Promised Massih Hadhrat Ahmad (as), little Munir Ahmad Azim was drawn to a spiritual life from very early.

As we shall see, the events narrated here bear witness that he is virtually a born soldier of Islam. For, he took to the defence of the faith and the Ahmadiyya view of Islam in his Tabligh encounters while still being a child! In spite of the many trials he faced and endured in material life, the young Azim was enthusiastic about explaining Islam to the people and derived much personal pleasure and satisfaction in the work. He went on with his spiritual work even in an environment of outright hostility and utter indifference, shutting the mouth of spiritual opponents with consummate perspectives and clinching arguments, as his Thabligh experiences across the sectarian and religious spectrum testify].

Read from the Biographical Essay:

As baby Munir Ahmad Azim is growing up, a Tamil priest once saw him playing and asked as to whom this charming child belonged. So his mother Hazrat Momin Azim came forward. The priest, upon seeing her, stated that her child shall go through countless harsh trials throughout his life but that the Hands of the Almighty would be always upon him.

Indeed, his life throughout became an everyday struggle to make ends meet. Indeed, he tried his hands at different manual jobs (store keeper in a shirt factory, seller in clothes shop, in a tannery, cutting wood in the forest along with his father, school bus driver, taxi driver, vegetable seller, snacks seller etc.) but did not succeed.

By the age of 7, the Khalifatullah Al-Massih started his pious life, staying in the mosque for long hours, regularly being present to accomplish the five daily Salat (prayers). He used also to wake up his whole household members for Tahajjud prayers. Very often his father used to fetch him at school (half day) to attend the Jumu’ah with him on Fridays. There he remembered seeing Mawlana Fazl Elahi Bashir doing the Khutba with his turban on the head.

Once his father bought a little car toy for him (in which he can enter to drive). So after Jumu’ah prayers he liked to ride his car, making as if he was like a Dai-Illallah or Mawlana on tabligh, and his elder brother Salim took one of his mother’s Chadar (Orni – head cover) to transform it into a turban (like Mawlana Fazl) and put it on his little brother’s head. Afterwards imitating the missionaries, he used to stand up to make the Khutba.

By the grace of Allah his parents inculcate this love for Islam in him, making him loving to attach himself to Deen-e-Islam. He used to invoke Allah a lot and in addition to attending his Atfaal lessons, he also helped at a very young age in the tabligh field by the house-to-house distribution of the books of the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) and other publications of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya. Later, during his early adolescence; he began to regularly accompany the tabligh volunteers in their drive to accomplish ground dawa work.

He thus had the opportunity to witness several debates for the cause of Allah and learnt by the grace of Allah through these experiences the core knowledge of refutations for the cause of truth, relating to the veracity of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), and that of the natural death of Jesus and the truthfulness of the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) as the Promised Messiah of his time. He also was a fervent Dai-Illallah who had the upper hand in arguments (in debates with Christian priests, and Muslim Mullahs) to silence these people. Moreover, since his young days, Allah by His infinite grace gave him other knowledge (which came naturally to him) how to shut the mouth of the rejecters of truth.

When he was 7-8 years, while distributing the pamphlets of the coming of the Promised Messiah (as) in Rose-Hill, one Muslim family, the Goorahoo, whose head was an Imam of the nearby Mosque could not debate with him at this tender age, and that man got so red with anger (because he could not refute the arguments advanced by a child) that he let loose two big dogs after the little Dai-Illallah. By the grace of Allah, Allah came to the rescue of His protégée and saved him from a fatal accident for he had to cross the busy roads where two buses were coming on each side of the road; thus saving him from a severe accident. Little Munir (atba) prior to being chased by dogs was beaten by the other members of that family (living in the same courtyard) while he was trying to sell the pamphlets to them. But this did not frighten the little boy and he continued in his door-to-door religious job.

On another occasion in Trèfles (District of Plaine Wilhems), while still a child (7-8 years old) on tabligh field, he went to sell the Jamaat books with a Muslim family, the Damree who were very anti-Ahmadiyya. Upon opening their door to the little child, the heads of the family (man and wife) told the little Dai-Illallah that they would not buy any book because they already had a lot of books in their Mosque’s library and that (little Munir and the Ahmadiyya people) were not Muslims.

Upon hearing this statement, the little boy asked them therefore how to become a Muslim? The adults told him that he was too little to ask that, that he would not understand. Little Munir insisted and afterwards turned to their children (one of them being his classmate) but nobody knew what to recite to become a Muslim. Therefore little Munir (atba) told them that one has to recite the Shahada “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” to become a Muslim. Thereupon the adults became angry that they themselves could not reply a child and then reprimanded their children who were supposed to know this as they regularly were sent to the Madrassa (religious school).

During his childhood itself, in Plaine Verte while accompanying the late Bhye Isoop Swaleh Attiah for Dawa, the young child was selling books of the Jamaat when he met with a Muslim man (long beard etc.). Little Munir thought that he could therefore sell to him the Islamic books. He therefore approached him, but after a long dispute, whereby the man was abusing Hazrat Massih Maoud (as), the little boy did not hesitate to shut his mouth.

One of the accusations against the Promised Messiah (as) was that he died in the toilet. The little child then said: “Is that the case? Is dying in a toilet an accursed death? That’s why you refuse to believe he be a prophet? ... Then, if something happens to you now all of a sudden, the sun being too hot for you to bear and you die on the spot, is it an accursed death? The man, red with anger vehemently denied that, saying that this was not an accursed death. Then the little child told him: “You did not understand me. When you die, won’t you be dying with your portable toilet (your body organ which stores waste materials)?!!!” The man was disconcerted and pushed him away, telling him to go away.

Once during his adolescence, accompanied with other tabligh volunteers in Rose-Belle (in the South of Mauritius), he encountered a supposed Mauritian Imam and his companions who leashed out their anger on him when he was trying to sell the Jamaat books nearby a bicycle repair shop and wanted to beat him. [Inset: Young Huzur (front left) on despatching task “The Messiah has come” (French) in Dar-us-Salam Mosque (1976)].

The Imam was adamant in telling him that he (the young Munir Ahmad Azim) was not a Muslim, and therefore the young Dai-Illallah asked him many questions and many refutations which came naturally to him (not from previous knowledge he had, but new ones which came to his heart and mind) and among them, what was the prayer to recite after having meals.

The Imam replied proudly: “Alhamdulillahil-lathi Ataamana Wasaqaana Wajalanaa Minal Muslimeen.” Afterwards young Munir Ahmad Azim asked him: “Oh, then please tell me its translation Chacha (uncle)?”

He got angry and did not want to give the translation. Actually he could not reply to the latter question, for he did not know what the dua meant. The young man patiently awaited his answer, infuriating him by saying: You tell me that I am not a Muslim, that I do not know Arabic. Then teach me the meaning of this dua!”

During this encounter, many onlookers came to assist the debate between the two, and among the onlookers there were also Hindus. Then, Hazrat Munir (atba) told that Imam that now you shall see who is actually a Muslim and who (among them) is not one. He then recited the translation, stressing on the last part of the dua: … and who made us Muslims – submitters to Allah.

He then told the Imam that it is not an Arab, a Pakistani or himself that made him (the young Munir Ahmad Azim) Muslim. It is only Allah who made him Muslim! If Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) made this dua, it was to thank Allah for making him a Muslim, not man. Likewise, it is not man who made young Munir Ahmad Azim Muslim, but it is Allah.

He then told the Imam:

 “… Then how dare you say that the Muslim World has declared me (the like of me) non-Muslim? Allah made me Muslim, therefore I am a Muslim! I do not worry about what the world says… Can’t you see that the translation of a dua you are not able to give it to me? Afterwards you say that I am not a Muslim! ”

After that befitting reply of the young Dai-Illallah, the Imam and his likes turned their backs with fury and went away. It was the onlookers (other Muslims and Hindus) who congratulate him for his arguments, recognising that the arguments which he used for his Dawa is a great argument, a great eye-opener on whom is man really accountable to, for it is Allah who gave us faith and made us Muslims, not man!

On other occasion during his teens (15 years old), he and his tabligh friend (Late Bhye Isoop Nobee) had to face the die-hard anti-Ahmadiyya Muslims in the heart of Plaine Verte and these people blocked the house in which they came to preach Islam Ahmadiyyat (the advent of the Promised Messiah) and these people were armed with knives. They did not want any Ahmadi in their area. But by the grace of Allah, Allah opened their path in such a way that they succeeded in fleeing the place, not coming to any harm. But all these incidents did not hinder him from continuing assiduously his Dawa works.

It is to be noted that the young Munir Ahmad Azim was acknowledged by the Jamaat to be the first and foremost to sell the maximum Jamaat books. He also knew how to tackle the questions received on the field of Dawa; the others not knowing profoundly how to defend Islam Ahmadiyya, and seeking his help to shut the mouth of the opponents. He was a brave young man, and ever ready to come forward to help the cause of Islam and the dissemination of the message of the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). 

He was not frightened easily by the opponents. Instead he used to come bravely in the “battlefield” to promote the message of Islam and the good news of the coming of the Promised Messiah (as). Whenever matters became serious on Dawa tours, he was brave enough to defend himself and his friends. While others recede, he came forward. He had such a character which made him advance in life, especially for the benefit of Islam and the Jamaat of the Promised Messiah (as). Despite his humble means, this work gave him much more personal pleasure and satisfaction.

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