Imam Bashir Ahmad Rafiq’s Biography
Chapter 25: Construction of Mahmood Hall Complex
In 1964 I submitted a proposal to the Centre that the two houses belonging to the Jamaat at 61 and 63 Melrose Road should be demolished and instead a new, attractive and spacious Mission House be built. The Centre approved the proposal and made it a condition that the necessary funds may be borrowed which could be returned in installments. Under instructions from the Centre a ‘Building Committee’ was constituted of which, apart from me, Abdul Aziz Deen and Moulvi Abdur Rahman were members. The committee made contacts with several Finance Companies, and finally a Building Society agreed that they would arrange to put up a building according to our plans and over 25 years the Centre would pay back the sum in installments.
Our plans were approved by Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih III and then we set about obtaining approval from local authorities. When we were ready for signing the Agreement, suddenly and without any prior notice the Building Society withdrew their offer to provide the necessary funds. Our endeavors during the previous year went to complete waste. The day following the refusal by the Building Society, from Holland, Hadhrat Chaudhry Zafrulla Khan came to London. He stayed with me and during our conversation over dinner; I said that the Building Society had refused to finance the project. Since I was disheartened and disappointment I spoke with great anguish. I said that a whole year’s efforts of the Building Committee had been wasted and that our dream of providing a spacious, beautiful and comfortable Mission House had come to nothing.
At that time, Chaudhry Sahib kept quiet and that was the end of the matter. During the following week, when Hadhrat Chaudhry Sahib came back to London he again stayed with me. At dinner he asked that if he personally financed the building of the new Mission House on the same terms as the Building Society would the Centre approve? I said:
“What else could the Centre possibly want? If your offer is firm I will write to Huzoor immediately for his approval.”
Chaudhry Sahib agreed and I immediately wrote to Huzoor and Huzoor conveyed his approval to me by telegram. It was therefore agreed that Hadhrat Chaudhry Sahib would finance the building of the new Mission House and after completion, over a period of 25 years; the Centre would return him the loan. At that time it was estimated that the building would cost around £100,000. Building plans were sent to Huzoor and were returned to me with his approval and the construction started.
When the building work had been completed we were confronted with another problem i.e. provision of curtains, carpets, furniture and other necessary furnishings. The agreement with Chaudhry Sahib was confined to the construction of the building. For assistance in the matter of provision of these items I sought assistance from Chaudhry Sahib. He said:
“This was not included in the agreement. However, where so much money has been spent, I might as well finance the purchase of these items as well.”
When the construction and decoration had been completed, in accordance with instructions from Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih III, I presented a Draft of the ‘Agreement’ to Chaudhry Sahib. He said that he would study the draft and the following week the signatures would be affixed. Through his benevolence, Huzoor had authorised me to sign on behalf of the Centre. When Hadhrat Chaudhry Sahib came from Holland the next week he said that he had studied the agreement and he was prepared to sign it. I said:
“I will call a meeting of the Executive Committee so that the Agreement may be signed in their presence.”
The following morning Chaudhry Sahib said:
“I have been pondering over this matter throughout the night and to a degree I remained anxious and restless.
Addressing myself I said;
‘Whatever you have is an outcome of Allah’s Mercy and Grace. When Allah did not impose any conditions when He gave you the wealth you have, why should you then, when you are returning a portion of it, impose conditions? Is there any justification for it? If you wish to gain His pleasure, on your own accord, you may express your gratitude to Allah by making a donation of the money you have spent.’
He said that he had torn up the agreement and prayed that may the new Mission House bring blessings to the Jamaat.
he said in a very solemnly tone,
‘There is a stipulation to this deal. The fact that I have provided all the expenses incurred in connection with the construction of the new Mission House should not be made public during my lifetime. This is only a gift from me to the Jamaat."
During his lifetime no mention was made of the fact that Mahmood Complex was constructed with the contributions of Hadhrat Chaudhri Sahib.