Imam Bashir Ahmad Rafiq’s Biography
Chapter 53: An Address
In 1970, I was transferred back to Pakistan and was appointed Private Secretary to Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih III. On that occasion an address was presented which has been reproduced in the January 1971 issue of the ‘Muslim Herald’. The address is reproduced below:
“The Imam Mr B.A. Rafiq has left for Pakistan under the instructions of Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih. His twelve years of stay in this country have endeared him to people who had the opportunity to meet him. As both the Missionary in Charge as well as an individual his work stands out in the history of the London Mission. Day and night, he worked hard in the service of Islam and Ahmadiyyat and won the respect of all. Scores of people have had daily discussions with him in which he cheerfully conveyed the message to them. In this period, he addressed nearly 600 clubs, schools, colleges of education and other institutions. Individually he welcomed hundreds of seekers after truth and answered their questions about Islam.
He received numerous letters each day and replied to them all, despite shortage of staff. He wrote articles, published books and pamphlets, which were in great demand. More than a dozen books were published in the Mission under him. Most of the books are of outstanding value, which contain the key-facts of Islam.
He first published the monthly magazine ‘Muslim Herald’ eleven years ago. Since then he carried it through successfully and kept the light lit despite various difficulties. Now it has achieved its status and commands a great prestige as a mouthpiece of the Islamic Faith. Its continuous demands by individuals and libraries, as well as by overseas readers are a testimony of its popularity. Scores of letters of appreciations are being received each month. The credit for all this goes to the Imam Mr B.A. Rafiq, who spared no pains to improve its quality and get up.
The local paper ‘Akhbar e Ahmadiyya’ was another of his efforts. It goes to every Ahmadi home now. It contains brief news of Headquarters, Friday sermons of Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih and several articles on Islam. The cultural aspect of Islam is specially featured in each issue.
The Ahmadiyya Community on his first arrival in the UK in January 1959 was a small bunch of sincere Ahmadis who were either students or daily wage earners. Now a gathering on an Eid day alone runs to almost two thousand people in London. The Jamaat has eighteen strong centres spread over different cities of the United Kingdom.
They are well-organized communities who are closely linked with the London Headquarters. In London, he was actively concerned with numerous activities. He was an active member of the Rotary Club, a member of the Race Relations Board, the founder of the Literary Society at the Mosque, the London Mosque Society and had been responsible for the establishment of Khuddam, Ansar, Atfaal and Lajna organisations. He played a vital part in the construction of the Mahmood Hall, as well as the building of offices and flats for the missionaries. In fact, he gave a new look to the Mosque and the Mission.
In financial matters, he laid the firm foundations of the Mosque finances. Nearly £21,000 had been collected by the London Mosque for the Fazl e Umar Foundation Fund and £2,000 have already been collected for the Nusrat Jehan Reserve Fund for Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih’s programme for the help of the Africans, Ahmadis of the UK Jamaats subscribe regularly and generously to the Jamaat funds and appeals.
The extraordinary events during his stay were the visits of Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih III, the London Mission was fortunate to have been favored twice in this way. The Imam Mr. B.A. Rafiq organized and planned these visits very efficiently. The Jamaat showed utmost devotion on both these occasions.
Though Mr Rafiq will be away from us he will always be remembered for his work and intimate relationship with the London Mission. He was affable, polite, extremely sociable and friendly and extraordinarily hospitable and generous. We wish him a long life of happiness and prosperity. Amen.” (The Muslim Herald January 1971).