Imam Bashir Ahmad Rafiq’s Biography
Chapter 31: Aziz Deen Sahib
Aziz Deen was like my brother, indeed he was my brother. He was most affectionate and he always shared with me my moments of joy and sorrow. He was my confidante and he was my associate. I looked up to him and in a way, he was my sermonizer. His company was like being in a meeting with the righteous.
I recall the occasion of the wedding of his daughter Talaat in the Mahmood Hall adjacent to the Fazl Mosque. In the open ground, huge marquees had been set up that got packed with guests. Talaat was to marry Mansoor Ahmad, son of Mubarak Ahmad Saqi. Due to this union the Almighty joined two families who were wholly devoted to Ahmadiyyat. Seated in a chair, I was waiting for the arrival of Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih IV. Involuntarily, I became absorbed in remembrance of my dear and affectionate friend, Abdul Azeez Deen. Had he been alive on that day he would himself have seen off his daughter, the daughter who, had him over the moon when she was born. When, over the telephone, he had told me of her birth his voice was vibrant with emotion. I went across to see Talaat and to congratulate her father. AzIz
“Now that the Almighty has blessed me with two daughters I hope that I will be enabled to bring them up and educate them properly”.
On the birth of all his children, he was always overjoyed but on the birth of Talaat, he was ecstatic and joyful.
What can I recall and what can I not? Aziz Deen was loaded with enviable attributes. He was noble, tall, handsome, gifted with masculine magnificence and graceful. He was comeliness personified. Apart from all these qualities, in the matter of integrity and Taqwa, he had achieved a very high order.
It’s a well known saying
“He who repents in his youth follows the pattern of a prophet”.
Aziz Deen was one of those. He could never have been responsible for casting a wicked eye on others, iniquitous dealings or any other unsavory pursuit. He once told me that during World War II, at the peak of his youth, he had a furniture shop. A young woman once visited the shop, bought some furniture and gave her address to which the furniture was to be delivered. She said that she would pay at the time of delivery. The next day, he said, he went to the given address to deliver the furniture. A young good-looking girl emerged from the house and said that her mother had gone out of the house but that she had left with her the price of the furniture. She asked him to arrange the furniture in the basement, which he did. He sat in a chair waiting to be paid when the young girl appeared with nothing on. As soon as he saw her in this state, in a huff, he rushed upstairs and left without receiving any payment. He breathed a sigh of relief when he got to the road. He thanked God that by His sheer Grace He had saved him from a horrific trial. He begged His forgiveness throughout that day. All this occurred when he was at the zenith of his youth.
This occurrence took place in the days when, on arrival in the West, Indian young men got deeply involved in merrymaking and even risked their future. Aziz Deen was extremely fond of conveying the message of Islam; in fact, he was fanatical about it. The singular object of his life seemed to be Dawat ill Allah. In 1961, in accordance with instructions of Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih II, for weekly speeches delivered by one of us a Hall was rented in Brighton. According to the plan, under the Chairmanship of Azeez Deen, I would deliver a speech. In spite of our efforts at promotion, on one occasion no one came to the venue of the meeting at the appointed time. After a few minutes, Aziz Dean said:
“Let’s go and sit on a bench outside the hall.”
He asked me to read the Newspaper, and he would try to persuade some passers by to enter the hall, and when we had a reasonable number present we could hold our meeting. Accordingly, I sat on a bench and started reading the paper. Aziz Deen kept on inviting passers by to participate in the meeting but he had little success. Finally, he met a deaf and dumb gentleman and brought him along. He sat next to me on the bench. Aziz Deen said to me:
“If nothing else let us convey Allah’s message to this person.”
Aziz Deen would write a few words on the blank spaces of the newspaper and the deaf and dumb person would reply in writing. This continued for a while until suddenly he saw a woman walking towards us. He asked me to keep the deaf and dumb man engaged and promised to bring the lady along. In spite of his endeavors, the lady paid no attention to him. Disappointed, he resumed his seat on the bench. The deaf and dumb person appeared to be very intelligent and had a sense of humor. After a while, he wrote on the paper:
“You couldn’t catch her?”
A little later, he wrote:
“I would like to donate £ 5.00 to the admirable work that you are doing.”
Aziz Deen said to me:
“Thank God, the rent for the Hall has been recovered in full.”
Once he took me to the Old Bailey where he worked as an interpreter. On that day a Judge, well known for his short temper, was presiding. During the interval, as the Judge was proceeding to his retiring room, suddenly, Aziz Deen rushed towards him. After greeting him,
“If you don’t mind may I present to you a book?”
At this apparent audacity on the part of him, the Judge’s staffs were flabbergasted and this reaction was evident from their faces. However, the Judge accepted the book ‘The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam’. Aziz Deen had written his name and address on the inside of the book. After the Judge had entered his retiring room his staff threatened Aziz Deen and told him that in the Court premises, neither a book nor any other article could be given to a Judge and it was quite possible that the Judge would take some action against him. However, Aziz Deen took no notice of the intimidation. A few days later he happily came to the Mission House and showed me a letter that he had received from the Judge in which he had thanked him for the present. Not only had he highly praised the contents of the book but he also invited him to his country home for tea. Habitually Azeez kept a few small booklets and pamphlets in his pockets and whenever an opportunity arose, he would present some.
He told me that once his son Muneer Deen said to him:
“You have lived in England for quite a while and you have had the most excellent opportunities and yet you have spent all your life more or less like as a recluse and have never made any attempt to save.”
He told me that he replied to his son in these terms:
“In the shape of earnest supplications I have amassed a treasure for you from which you will benefit throughout your lives. God willing, you will never see a day when you are hard-up.”
Once the subject of Life Insurance was under discussion. Aziz Sahib told me that he had never had the slightest desire to insure his life as he was fully confident that Allah would never allow his children to go to waste and that beyond the imagination of any Insurance Company He would bless them abundantly.
He was deeply in love with the Mosque and that attribute was characteristic to him. His obedience and love for the Imam of a Mosque was also an outstanding quality. He would often say:
“It’s my experience that those who do not regularly bring their children to the Mosque and do not admonish them to strengthen their ties with the Mosque, either gradually sever their connection with it altogether or sometimes their contact with the Mosque becomes very fragile."
Once we made an assessment and discovered with surprise that the children of nearly 70 % of those parents, who are not regular in their visits to the Mosque, gradually distance themselves from it. In the summer or in the winter, whether the weather was pleasant, overcast or snowbound, Azeez Deen never allowed his contact with the Mosque to be weakened. He maintained a positive and a loving relationship with the Imams of the Mosque. He often said that he who obeyed the Missionary became recipient of unbounded blessings.
A particular attribute of his was the extreme love and devotion towards the members of the family of the Promised Messiah. His respect and devotion towards each member of the family was his specific quality. Whenever they were in London most members of the family stayed with him. Aziz Deen regarded hospitality and being of service to them a matter of pride. In 1961 when Hadhrat Nawab Amat ul Hafeez Begum Sahiba came to England, he pleaded with her to stay with him and permit him to discharge the responsibility of a host. A daughter of Begum Sahiba was also with her and both stayed with Aziz Deen for nearly three months. With great pride, he would mention that when a daughter of the Promise Messiah (pbuh) visited London she blessed his house.
Aziz Deen had the rare privilege of serving Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah at the Mosque on several occasions. At all functions, he discharged responsibilities normally assigned to a host.
Disgusted with the attitude of the Indian Muslims and in the absence of any practical measures the Quaid e Azam moved to London. He bought a house in Hampstead and started practice in the Privy Council. He announced that he would have no interest in or involvement in Indian politics. Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih II who kept a watchful eye on the political developments in India directed the Imam of the London Mosque, Maulana Abd ur Raheem Dard, to persuade the Quaid e Azam, who in those days was merely referred to as ‘Mr Jinnah’, to return to India and once again assume leadership of the Muslims. Huzoor said that he could not see anyone amongst the Muslims who had the necessary ability to lead. Maulana Dard was directed to advise Mr Jinnah that if he agreed to return to India he would have the full support of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya.
On receipt of these instructions, Maulana Dard got in touch with Mr Jinnah and invited him to the Mosque for tea. He told him that he had a message from the Imam of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya to convey to him. The Quaid accepted the invitation. On the morning of the Quaid’s visit Maulana Dard instructed Mr Deen to make the necessary arrangements for tea. Mr Jinnah came at the appointed time. Both Maulana Dard and Mr. Jinnah sat in the drawing room of the house at 63 Melrose Road.Mr. Deen went to fetch tea and after placing it on the table he was about to leave when Maulana Dard invited him to join them.Maulana Dard conveyed the message from the second successor to the Promised Messiah, to him. He began his efforts to persuade him to return to India but the Quaid remained adamant and insisted that he would not return. Four or five similar sittings ensued. On each occasion Maulana Dard invited Mr.Deen to join in the discussion.
Aziz Deen was indeed a walking history of the London Mission. He had established cordial relationships with Colonel Douglas who delivered the judgement in the murder case against the Promised Messiah. The Colonel related the whole story to him and said:
“When the Mirza came to my Court and I looked at him I became convinced that, without a shadow of a doubt, he was totally innocent. On the other hand, there was strong evidence against him. Christians, Muslims and Hindus all were determined to prove that the Mirza was guilty. The case dragged on for a few days and my confusion continued to intensify. Finally, on the day the judgement was to be delivered I was pacing up and down on the veranda of my house. I began to ponder over the proceedings. Suddenly in a vision, I saw the Mirza standing in front of me and he said: “I am innocent.”
When I looked at his clean and pure face something within me directed me to have a good look and see if such a face could be that of a person guilty of murder. Something within me declared that he was certainly not a murderer. I went indoors and called the Superintendent of Police. I told him that this person could not possibly be guilty. The Superintendent said that the pivotal point of the case was the evidence of Abdul Hameed. The whole case was dependent on Abdul Hammer’s statement that the Mirza had sent him to kill Dr. Clarke. However, as Abdul Hameed lives amongst the Christian Clergy, if he was separated from them and kept in the police custody he may tell the truth. The next day Douglas ordered that Abdul Hameed should be taken into police custody. Thereafter Abdul Hameed broke down and cried out that the Mirza had not spoken a single word to him and that the case was registered on the basis of what Reverend Martin Clarke had instructed him.”
Aziz Deen relates that once, Colonel Douglas had said to him:
“I am surprised that in such a short space of time the Mirza’s Movement has made such rapid progress.”
One can narrate a lot about Azeez Deen. I request friends to pray that the Almighty may raise the status of my dear brother in Heaven. May He shower His blessings upon his wife, his children, and his grandchildren.