Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Khalifatullah (atba) in Delhi

The Living Legacy of Islam in India

Historically speaking, Islam spread in the Indian subcontinent through a gradual process lasting over centuries. While South India, Kerala in particular, witnessed the advent of Arab traders and early Muslim merchants from Yemen as part of the organic process of international trade in those early days of Islam in the seventh, eight, and ninth centuries; the North of India witnessed powerful military struggles for political dominion and the Muslim armies succeeding in establishing themselves as rulers in this vast land. Delhi, the capital city of India, has thus been a major centre of the Muslims over the millennia. Muslim dynasties, including the Grand Mughals, ruled over Delhi for over seven centuries before the British colonial era began in the subcontinent.

With the establishment of Muslim empires in India and the relative peace it brought into the region from the political turmoil in the extended neighbourhood of India, many Sufi saints and their disciples from different parts of the Islamic world began to travel to India and began settling down here, thereby triggering in its own way conditions for the spread of Islam through the nooks and corners of India. 

Among the major Muslim saints and sages of the medieval era, Godly men who settled in and around Delhi and other parts of North India, one can count several illustrious names: Hadhrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (ra), Hadhrat Mueenuddin Chishti Ajmeri (ra)(1132-1236); Hadhrat Faridudin Shakar Gunj(ra) (1212-1269); Hadhrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dehlvi (ra)(1233-1325);  Hadhrat Shiekh Ahmad Sarhindi (ra) Mujaddid Alf Sani (1563-1624), Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlvi(ra)(1703-62), etc.

Prophecy on 'Mahdis' in India

Many of these great servants of Allah (swt) sang in ecstasy, drinking from the cup of Divine revelations, sharing Good News about the arrival of other Men of God in the Later Days. Many prophecies and glad tidings regarding the future of Islam are to be redeemed in the fullness of time through several processes in the Indian subcontinent, including the prophecies regrding the advent of Imam Mahdi and the second coming of Jesus (as), etc. Hadhrat Ni’matullah Shah Wali Dehlavi, in his famous Diwan, spoke about the advent of the Promised Massih and Mahdi in India. Very many years before the events, he spoke about the Signs of the Times. In a book published in 1851, Arbaeen-fi-Ahwaal-al-Mahdiyyeen, Hazrat Shah Ismail Saheed (ra) included this poem about the arrival of a Guided One (Mahdi) in India:  

I see the power of the Creator and I see the plight of the age.
I do not say all this by reading the stars:
Nay! I relate what God Almighty has told me.

In Khorasan, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq; I see sedition and wars.
Everyone is in a wretched state, even the highest and the best.
I hear a strange story: I see grief and sorrow everywhere.  

But do not grieve, for in the midst of these anxieties,
I envision the joy of meeting the Sweetheart.
When the unfruitful winter is over,
I envision the rising of the sun of a happy spring.

When his tenure comes to its successful end,
I see that he will be succeeded by his illustrious son.

I see the name of that illustrious personage written
And I read: Alif, Ha, Mim, and Dal.

I see that he is the Mahdi and the Messiah of the age
And he is the champion in both capacities.

I see the whole world has become like one big city;
And his justice is the fortress for one and all.


The 'Links' with the Promised Massih (as)

The Promised Massih Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian in the last century clarified that Divine words and prophecies have multiple layers of meaning and it is often futile for it to conform to human imaginations or the fulfilment of literal interpretations and that no one can object to the Will and Wisdom of Allah (swt) in the realization of Divine words. He confirmed that he is indeed the Promised Massih and Imam Mahdi of the Fourteenth Century Hijri while also prĂ©cising that “there will be several Mahdis” as he noted in his Book “Heavenly Signs”:

“Undoubtedly, people have greatly erred in understanding the Ahadith that mention the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa) about the coming of a person named Mahdi. In general, it has been erroneously assumed that the word 'Mahdi' invariably refers to 'Muhammad son of ‘Abdullah' who has been mentioned in some Ahadith. But a careful study reveals that the Holy Prophet (sa) has foretold the coming of several Mahdis…. In short, it is a definite and proven fact that several Mahdis are mentioned in the Sihah Sittah…” ----(The Heavenly Sign, pp.22-23, Trans.by MA Ghauri, London: Islam International Publications Ltd, (2005); First Urdu edition in India in 1892.  

A 'Massih' for Our Times

Consider two signs in the poem written by Shah N’imatullah Wali alone. It speaks feelingly about a time:

“In Khorasan, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq; I see sedition and wars.
Everyone is in a wretched state, even the highest and the best.
I hear a strange story: I see grief and sorrow everywhere.” 

“I see the whole world has become like one big city;”

Among contemporary political analysts, and also historians, there is little doubt that today the Islamic world is facing the biggest crises of its 1400- year old existence. Due to the internecine warfare and sectarian killings all across the Muslim world, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are subjected to genocidal practices, or reduced to statelessness and refugee status in foreign lands or face horrific internal displacement, with Muslim women and children especially vulnerable to all sorts of abuses and humiliations. All of this is happening at a time the world has become like one big city and that the processes of globalization are irreversibly in place.

Hence, there is little to argue on the question of ‘time’ for the advent of an Elect of GOD. The Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah of this era, Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius comprises within his whole personality, character, background and context as well as the time of his appearance the fulfilment of so many glad tidings that are steeped in the Islamic tradition about the appearance of a Divine Elect in the Later Days- Mahdi, Massih, Imam, Muhyi-ud-Din, Khalilullah, Khalifatullah, Mujaddid, Qamaran Munira, etc. 

In the Fifteenth Century of the Islamic Calendar, Allah (swt) has once again redeemed His promise to raise a servant of His, with Roohul Quddus, to strengthen the Deen in this morally darkened era of ours where Islam and Muslims find themselves in much trouble and humiliation; to raise a Mahdi who will bear witness to the days of the Holy Prophet (sa) of Islam through his preaching efforts and spiritual practices, offering a glimmer of hope for the survival of true believers amidst the clouds of severe trials for the Muslims. He is part of long chain of Godly men who have from Allah (swt) to bear witness to the ultimate purpose of life in this fleeting world.

Like the sacred traditions indicate, Hadhrat Sahib (atba) is indeed an ‘Ahmad’ himself, being Munir Ahmad; he is also the ‘spiritual son’ of the previous Massih and Mahdi, Hadhrat Ahmad (as) and has a lineage that connects him firmly and squarely with India and yet has such deep connections in the Africa of Hazrat Bilal (ra). Despite not being very wealthy or extremely affluent, Allah (swt) brings about circumstances and provisions for him to reach out to people in the farthest corners of the earth, having travelled already to almost all parts of the Indian Ocean region, thereby displaying in the process the Messianic quality of being a ‘Travelling Messenger’. Meeting people and explaining the fundamental principles of true spirituality; writing a Grand Commentary on the Holy Qur’an that runs into thousands of pages; Being taught by Allah (swt) Himself to speak about spiritual verities of the most exquisite kind; Hadhrat Saheb (atba) is indeed the Guiding Light of Tawheed in this era, Alhamdulillah, Soumma Alhamdulillah. 

The Khalifatullah (atba) in Delhi

It is against this profound backdrop of spiritual prophecies in the Islamic tradition concerning the arrival of a Guided One in the Later Days in India that one has to view the arrival of the Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) and the blessed members of the Household to India and Delhi in the last month. For those of us who have been in regular touch with him in recent years, there is a deep and legitimate satisfaction that the opportunity to meet and personally interact with him and live in his company for at least some days in our own land and home, has come as a very, very special gift from Allah (swt), Alhamdulillah, Soumma Alhamdulillah. Indeed, it is the fulfillment of the deepest spiritual wishes one can cherish in this small world: living in the presence of a Messenger of Allah (swt). The Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius and the blessed members of the Household travelled from Agra to Delhi on the morning of January 26, 2017. And in Delhi, they reached at the Railway Station named after the great saint of Islam, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia (ra). Drizzling rains greeted the Team at the Station, with the winter-chill still not ebbing away from the season in North India. Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) and family stayed at the Aravalli International Guest House of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. 


With the rains continuing into the evening, soon after having a simple dinner together, we all assembled at the room of Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) and he recited for us an Urdu poem entitled/beginning with "Hamare Dua Soun". According to Hazrat Tayyeba Aliah Nasrine Saheba, "this poem in the context of the Divine Manifestation of this age was revealed to Huzur (atba), but this poem, in different wordings also exist, but Allah revealed this one for the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam and attests to the veracity of the Khalifatullah and Messiah of this age". There is a deep devotional side to the rendition by the Hadhrat Saheb (atba) and it touches the heart and soul of those who listen, even for someone like me who does not know Urdu felt moved by it. One hopes someday the Jamaat Youtube Channel will upload the song for the benefit of everyone, Insha Allah, Aameen. 

On the same occasion, Hazrat Ummul Mu'mineen Nasira Beebi Saheba recited the Urdu Poem: "Ya Khuda..." This revealed poem, taught and revealed by Allah (swt) to His Elect, way back in the beginning of the Divine Manifestation, on 13 June 2002, is already on the Youtube Channel and can be accessed here. At the 2016 Ijtima of the Siraj Makin, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) gave a commentary and explanation on this poem. To understand the background, context and meaning of this revealed prayer, one can access the video recording of the exposition here. 

Because of the winter chill and the thick fog in the mornings, the Days came alive rather late in the day for the Delhiites. Yet, those who went for a morning walk found many other members of the University community, briskly taking a scrawl in the sprawling campus. Winter chill or summer heat, some people would not want to leave the pleasure of a morning walk. Having had breakfast in the morning, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) and family members took a quick walk down the road to reach the modest dwelling space of our brother and his family. Being the Friday, every one returned to the House again at around 12.45 pm to offer the Jum’ah Namaz and Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) delivered the Jum’ah Qutubah/ Friday Sermon from the house and thereby also fulfilled a personal wish of this humble reporter.

The Friday Sermon of January 27, 2017 spoke about the significance of Salat for the attainment of spiritual merits and the removal of character failings. By relying entirely on Allah (swt) and beseeching only to Him about one’s needs and for provisions, one can find resolution to one’s material problems and also more importantly, make progress in the spiritual life. It is as the spiritual exemplar and role model that Allah (swt) His messenger and other Elects of God. It is by following the Holy Prophet (sa) and the Khulafatullah who are raised by Allah (swt) in His Infinite Wisdom in every age through Divine revelations- whenever Allah feels a need to remind and strengthen Tawheed- that one can accede to the Exalted presence, Insha Allah, Aameen. It is this extraordinary possibility that lies wide open through the coming of a Khalifatullah (atba) in the person of Hadhrat Sahib, Alhamdulillah, Soumma Alhamdulillah. May Allah (swt) enable each one of us to be aware of the spiritual possibilities on offer.

On Saturday, January 28th Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) and family and accompanied by those of who have joined them all through the journey, we all went to the Jum’ah Masjid area in Delhi. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 1640s and 1650s, -the man who also built the famous Taj Mahal in Agra as well as the Red Fort in Delhi,- the Delhi Jum’ah Masjid is the largest Mosque in India. Over 25000 people can offer prayers there. It is an architectural marvel and an engineering accomplishment from an era before ours and it is interesting to note that the Architectural plan of the Jum’ah Masjid in Delhi was also used for building the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, constructed during the time of Shah Jahan’s son, Emperor Aurangzeb. 


A passing thought did cross the minds of some of us while we were there at the Jum'ah Masjid at Delhi: it is the same place that the Promised Massih Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian had once visited in the year 1891. His visit was a very controversial event. and it took place under very trying conditions, with all the religious claims of the Promised Massih (as) under fierce challenge by the Orthodox Ulema in Delhi, with the crowds being incited by unscrupulous elements to go for attempt to murder the Holy saint, no proper debate could take place at that time. History notes that when the Promised Massih (as) visited the Mosque, he sat near the Mihrab. The picture on the right is that of the spiritual son of the Promised Massih (as) in this era, Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius, sitting at the Jum'ah Masjid Minbar. 

At the Mosque, we offered the Nafal Namaz and later walked around to see the entire Mosque building. Foreign tourists, including many Muslims from different parts of the Islamic world, were seen looking around and admiring the architectural design of the Mosque. Within the building complex, we were also shown certain cultural artefacts, designed to invoke sacred memory of the Holy Prophet (sa) and the great Islamic devotional past. However, we were not sure and remain unconvinced about the historical basis of these artefacts being claimed to be originating from the times of the Holy Prophet (sa), especially since the validity of the claims made by the exhibitionist remain to be critically scrutinised or examined by independent experts.

On the morning of January 29th, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) once again acceded to my request and came along to have a view of my modest faculty room in the University and offered Duah for the University and also for the progress of this humble self. Hadhrat Saheb (atba) also shared with me a very interesting dream or vision he has had made many years ago, of sitting or visiting a major university and speaking with professors there.  

On Monday, the 30th morning, it was time to say ‘Salam’ and ‘goodbye’ for the time being, as Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) and Team had to go back to Mauritius through Chennai and Dubai: miles to go and flights to catch up to continue the work in other places, Insha Allah. For those of us who have to stay and go back to our respective lives also, it was a sad moment: to realize that the days of staying close by, travelling along and listening to Huzur (atba)-all that is moving away from us. May Allah (swt) crown this Divine mission's sincere efforts with the glorious laurels of His pleasure and satisfaction; and May we all be enabled to partake of the Divine Blessings on offer in this era in full measure, Insha Allah, Aameen. 

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