Imam Bashir Ahmad Rafiq’s Biography
Chapter 57: End of Story
I embarked on the vessel of my life on 12th September 1931. Having made stops at 72 stages the boat is now sailing towards the final terminal and that cannot be too distant. The last stage will be in the ‘Hereafter’. During the last 72 years my vessel has been through some huge and some small whirlpools and it was pounded a great deal. On occasion, the boat had to face gale force winds and storms. On two occasions, the hurricanes were so ruthless that the vessel of my life nearly went under. These two deadly spiritual ordeals turned my life upside down. Had the Divine hand not helped me I wonder what would have happened? However, by the sheer Mercy and Grace of Allah, in spite of apparent deadly trials, I emerged relatively unscathed. Alhamdolillah.
At every step of the way I have seen the Divine hand of help over my head and I have full faith and confidence in it. In His sacred book the Holy Quran the Almighty has said:
“I am near and I hear the supplications of my servants and accept them. I am close to My servants. I and hear their cries and respond.”
On very many occasions, I have witnessed this fact i.e. My Maker is nearest to me.
A little while ago, I read the autobiography of Sardar Kushwant Singh. He writes that ‘many say that God is omnipresent but I have never felt that way’. I was very greatly surprised that such an extremely eminent and famous writer, journalist, intellectual and well read person should be ignorant of this fact. The fact that He is our God, He is always present, He is closer to us than our jugular vein, He speaks and He replies, even a feeble, humble and ignorant person like me has witnessed and experienced at every step. When we are downcast, He raises our spirits. The doorway to His treasury is always wide open for those who solicit. The only condition is that one should ask.
I often wonder how after severing his relationship with the Maker anyone can be content. His denial truly turns one into a coward. All kinds of superstitions surround him who denies. He loses his way and is encircled with darkness. He becomes a slave of the worldly means whereas those who hold His hand spend their days in complete contentment. Therefore, I advise my children never to drift away from His door. Always ask only of Him as everything belongs to Him and there is no deficiency of any kind in His treasury. He will never let you down, as I have never been disillusioned. I swear by Allah that whenever I have begged of Him He has given me plenty and He has never disappointed me. There has never been a need, which out of His Mercy and Grace He has not fulfilled. If I begin to write in detail of His Blessings many books will get filled. He loves us more than our parents do and His gifts far exceed those of all the kings put together. Never ever abandon His door.
Quite regardless of the measure of sacrifice needed prostrate only before Him. A single prostration before Him will save you having to stoop before so many. Ask of Him alone as He has what no one else has. Be His and His alone. May the dazzling affluence of the world not detract you from Him. Once He becomes yours, everything becomes yours. The essence of my long life is that supplications lead o Him and that prayers are omnipotent. I have been deeply fascinated by prayers. I was perhaps 12 years old and only a student of the Eighth Grade when, in the evenings, I would walk towards the River Kabul that flowed close to the village. I really enjoyed supplicating even then. In those early days, I hardly had any experience of acceptance of Prayers but I was very fond of Praying. By His Grace that habit of praying bore fruit. Throughout my life I have been engaged in and took pleasure in prayers. I have so often witnessed the manifestation of acceptance of prayers. As a result, my life has been full of joy and contentment. Prayers grant one potency equal to those of mountains. It provides serenity to the heart and it strengthens it. In the midst of an ocean of grief, problems and worries like a safe boat it conveys you to your port of destination. A life without prayers becomes unfilled and meaningless.
I advise my children to make their prayers into a strong citadel and derive strength and security from it. Never be neglectful of prayers. You will see that as you become engaged in prayers you will, at every step, find that your life has become blissful and peaceful. Normally before supplicating, I invoke Durood on the Holy Prophet PBUH. Then I pray for the Promised Messiah PBUH, his successors and his progeny. Then I pray for my parents and grandparents on both sides and then for their ancestors who are no longer with us. I pray for my mother’s brothers, their spouses, my mother’s sisters and their spouses and their children. I also pray for my teachers and then I pray for my wife and my children. May Allah make them true servants of the Faith and they become fond of praying. Then I pray for the progress of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. Then I pray for such dear friends who are still alive and I also pray for those who, having formed a favorable impression of me, ask me to pray for them. I pray for my brother, his wife and their children. I pray for my sisters their spouses and their children. Over and above these, I offer many prayers with great regularity. I advise my children that, in this age, the Almighty has made the Jamaat established by the Promised Messiah a sanctuary from trials and tribulations. Make sure that you remain within the four walls of this sanctuary. Never even for a single moment should your contact with the Jamaat diminish. Always strengthen your link with Khilafat and make your best endeavors to develop a close relationship with the current Khalifa. There is nothing but trepidation outside the Jamaat. This is a great bounty from the Almighty that has been bestowed on us through the Promised Messiah. Always treat it as a great treasure and if there be need lay down your life with out the slightest hesitation.
In the Holy Quran, the Almighty says ‘if you appreciate My gifts I will continue to enlarge them and if you are ungrateful my torment will be severe’. Make this teaching of the Holy Quran a beacon for your life. There are hundreds of thousands of His gifts. In order to show gratitude you must, whenever from amongst them any one is demanded, without the slightest hesitation you should surrender it. This is how you should show your gratitude. Allah has granted you all your resources. Never be miserly in the payment of Chanda. Whenever a Khalifa invites you for financial sacrifices pay your subscriptions most generously. You will surely see that against what you give He pays back many times. He does not owe anyone a debt. I have never seen anyone who pays Chanda in poverty. Instead, I have often seen people who do not pay Chanda surrounded by financial problems. Since I have been a missionary I have, repeatedly observed that those who make substantial financial sacrifices lead a happy and contented life. Treat one who calls at your house to receive Chanda with utmost courtesy. Whoever invites you to spend in His way is in fact your benefactor. Never look at him except with great respect. It is his favor that he persuades you towards excellence.
There are many other ways of expressing gratitude for His gifts. The basic principle to be always borne in mind is that whatever He has granted you is really His. Therefore, never be niggardly in spending in His way.
I also advise you to always strictly stick to absolute truth and never ever come within reach of falsehood. Falsehood is an ugly blemish on one’s character; a blemish that stinks to the extent that others move away. Truth is a fragrance. It makes one courageous and saves one from every kind of fear. Telling a lie to gain some insignificant profit does not ever result in a gain. In Allah’s Court, a liar is cursed. May Allah make you a standard-bearer of the truth. May you always be clothed in truth.
In the end, I beg all of you to pray for Salima Naheed and me. May Allah be pleased with us and may our end be good. May He take us away from this world when He is pleased with us and we are pleased with Him.