Dr. Mohsin Ilahi, Aligarh
By the grace and mercy of Almighty Allah, I have had a habit of reading literature especially related to Islamic teachings since my high school days. In 2008, by the design of Almighty Allah, I somehow got hold of a book “Aak Aziz Kay Naam Khat” (A Letter to a Dear One) written by Sir Chaudhary Zafrulla Khan (ra). This book was republished in India after its first print edition in 1940 as part of the Khilafat Centenary celebrations in 2008 under the direction of Khalifat Ul Masih V (aba). It was out of stock and would have been impossible to get it anywhere in India had it not been for the blessings of Khalifat that brought it back on bookshelves at various places of Jamaat in 2008. The subject matter contained there is marvelous and electrifying as Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad M.A. (ra) describes it in the preface of the book. It is addressed to the youth especially to the youth of Jamaat how to live with a balanced perspective of life, which usually tends to follow materialistic pursuits at the cost of religious and moral values. It resonated with each and every fiber of my being back then and continues to give me goosebumps whenever I read it. In my humble capacity, I have read it dozens of times and gifted it to dozens of friends within and outside Jamaat. Personally, at least, I firmly believe that this book has indeed changed my life’s perspective once and for all according to the author’s wishes. Alhamdulillah!
At the end of this book, it was emphasized that the main aim of writing it is to generate interest in youth to read further about Islamic teachings and act upon it and hence shoulder the responsibilities of being a true Ahmadi Muslim. For this purpose, a kind of comprehensive action plan for reading Islamic literature is listed and it is suggested to finish it within a reasonable period of 2-3 years. One essential action item there is to read the magnum opus book “Seerat Khatam Un Nabiyeen” [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (saw)] by the Moon of the Prophets-Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad M.A. (ra). Earlier, I tried a few times to read it but somehow lost motivation after reading the first few chapters. One reason may be due to its large size or initial chapters being more academic in nature. Whatever the case, I have by now come to realize that Almighty Allah wanted to show me a sign. A sign for me through the series of Friday sermons by Khalifat Ul Masih V (aba) on the companions of the Holy Prophet (saw).
Inspiration from Friday Sermons
When Khalifat Ul Masih V (aba) started the series of Friday sermons on the life and character of the companions of the Battle of Badr, many a time it was stated Mirza Bashir Ahmad M.A. (ra) has written this or that on this or that event of the Islamic history. This was like a constant reminder to pick up the book again and read it thoroughly the way Khalifat Ul Masih V (aba) was demonstrating in Friday sermons. However, I do not know precisely why I was procrastinating or why there was some inherent inertia each time I attempted to pick up the book. The level of anxiety was rising with each Friday sermon as I was afraid deep down that once this series of sermons will end, I might lose the periodic weekly reminder and motivation could disappear the way it has happened in the last 10 years of my life. Finally, once again by the sheer mercy and grace of Almighty Allah and the blessings of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, around the middle of last year, I started rereading the book. This time with great determination and inspiration fuelled by the series of Friday sermons on the companions of the Holy Prophet (saw). I started reading slowly a few pages per day after the daily recitation of the Holy Qur’an in Fajr and by now I am in the middle of this book. Alhamdulillah!
The Friday sermons became a constant force to push me to read the book with ever-increasing seriousness. Sometimes it was reflected as follows. While reading the book and having blessed words of Friday sermons in my subconscious mind, many times tears started flowing down my cheeks. The words of the author of the book are crafted and chosen in such an emphatic fashion that it takes one’s imagination directly to the lanes of Makkah and Madinah and makes one feel the events in reality there and then. I am finding myself miserably short of words even to give a sense of the description of the impact this book has imprinted on my heart and soul.
About the Great Book- Seerat Khatam Un Nabiyeen
One of the editions of this excellent book in original Urdu that I am reading these days has in its preface the following. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad M. A. (ra) has written this precious book not just to give the details of Islamic history but, the first and foremost purpose of writing was that the Muslim youth are reminded of the life and character of the Holy Prophet (saw) and hence, feel much motivated to follow the blessed Prophet (saw) as their most preferred role model in their lives. He prays in these words ” O Allah! Bless Your servants so that they read it and benefit from it and follow the pure model of this great Prophet (saw) and achieve Your pleasure and acceptance” (Urdu Edition Printed in India 2019).
There are places in abundance where the author describes an event or comments on a Hadith that sheds light on the personality of the Holy Prophet in a way that the reader is elevated spiritually. The effects of that are felt as if one is present in the scene in reality. The love and power in the writer’s lines can be appreciated fully in the original Urdu edition. However, to give a feel to readers, one would like to quote just one example from the English version of the book. The last words uttered from the blessed lips of the Holy Founder of Islam in a world of materialism are narrated by Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib (ra) and Anas bin Malik (ra) as: “The last words which were heard upon the blessed tongue of the Holy Prophet (saw) in a state when death was about to overtake him were, ‘O ye Muslims! My last testament to you is that you must never forget my teaching relevant to the obligatory prayers and slaves’ (Sunanu Ibni Majah, Hadith No. 2697). Commenting on it, the author writes the electrifying and faith-inspiring commentary as follows:
“At the time when the Holy Prophet (saw) uttered these words, his wives who stand by his side in every difficulty and hardship as his life partners were also present. His beloved daughter and her children, as well as other friends and relatives of the Holy Prophet (saw) were also before him. The loyal Muhājirīn, in whose sincere companionship the life of the Holy Prophet (saw) had passed were present as well. The devoted Anṣār, who irrigated the plant of Islām with the water of their blood were also nearby. Moreover, this was a time when the Holy Prophet (saw) would not have had any further opportunity to advise anyone else. The Holy Prophet (saw) also knew and felt that an admonition made at such a time would outweigh all other exhortations. Yet, the eyes of the Holy Prophet (saw) did not settle upon any one of the people mentioned just now. If there was a single person in the world whom the Holy Prophet (saw) remembered and this recollection made him uneasy even in his final moments before death, it was this immensely oppressed slave. Goodness, gracious! What a true friend of slaves. What a compassionate and sincere friend was bestowed upon the world by God, but alas, the world did not give him his due value.” (Vol. II p-212).
What else can describe the character of this ultimate champion and leader of mercy for mankind? Who else has the personality in the history of mankind who can stand up to this level? Indeed, there is none except him to follow for everyone of every age. Such teachings were not just relevant to the curse of slavery in those times. This teaching and model shown by Holy Prophet (saw) is the standard to follow now and forever. This teaching and character is the antidote for the recent instances like Black Lives Matter that has plagued and ripped apart the conscience of the civilized societies of the so-called modern and advanced super-powers of our times. Different cruel and cunning forms of subtle and explicit slavery are rampant in this age of neo-colonialism. Such teachings and books become even more important to read, follow and spread them. This is the only way of salvation for the world in deep crisis. It is only by following such teachings which the fears of a looming third world war can vanish forever.
To sum up, I would like to humbly submit the following. If one has the desire to develop a love of the Holy Prophet (saw) which of course is a pre-condition set by the Holy Qur’an for developing the love of Almighty Allah, then given the grace and mercy of Almighty Allah this book has the potential to be a great means to achieve the very purpose of our life and make this world look like heaven. May Almighty Allah bless all of us to listen and draw inspiration from the Friday sermons and various other addresses and speeches of Khalifat Ul Masih V (aba). May the prayer of the author of the book as mentioned above be accepted. May this humble short story be a source of inspiration and a gentle reminder to read further about the life and character of the seal of Prophets (saw) and his companions for others as it has been for me. May Allah make it so! Ameen!
About the Author: Dr. Mohsin Ilahi is a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) where he is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow. He is leading operations for academic programs of Kashmiri Institute of Mathematical Sciences (KIMS) and is Chairperson for KIMS AMU Outreach Chapter. His current research interest is the applications of quantum computing in various branches of physical sciences. He is involved in many research projects.