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Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din

Opinion of Rais Ahmad Jafari
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Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din —
a hidden saint and an apparent kafir

Opinion of Rais Ahmad Jafari

Hai wali posheedah aur kafir khulaa — Urdu poet Ghalib

The extract below is translated from the Urdu book Deed-o-Shuneed — A Collection of Personal Impressions about People (What I saw and heard) by Rais Ahmad Jafari, published by Rais Ahmad Jafari Academy, 1B, 5 Mi‘maar Terrace, Gulshan-i Iqbal No.1, Karachi, pp. 120, 121, Second edition 1987. In the 1948 edition this extract appears on pages 160–163.

In 1924 the Annual Conference of Nadwatul Ulama was held at Lucknow with much pomp and splendour. Maulana Habib-ur-Rahman Khan Sherwani, the Nawab Sadr Yar Jang Bahadur of Hyderabad Deccan, came especially to preside over the Conference. Students of the Nadwatul Ulama had played a significant role in the Khilafat movement and the All-India Congress Party. That was why a considerable number of political leaders also graced the occasion. Maulana Shaukat Ali, “the lion of Islam”, was conspicuous among them.

I was a student of Grade 1 of the Nadwah. Annual examinations had just ended and the younger students were allowed to avail the vacations and go home. But the lure of the Conference was so overwhelming that I did not go home and remained in Nadwah till the end of the Conference.

I was standing in the side verandah of the hall when a friend of mine said to me: Let us go and listen to the lecture of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. I immediately went along with him. On the stage there was a handsome, imposing man delivering a fine speech. His voice was so loud and resounding that even at the back of the hall each and every word of his speech could be heard. His face was quite full and he had a black beard. Instead of the typical Muslim style pajamas (trousers) and achkan (long coat), he was wearing a coat and on his head he had a turban with tassels. The speech on “The Propagation of Islam” was so impressive and convincing that everyone was listening to it attentively with amazement.

The general impression about Qadianis is that they are kafirs (unbelievers). The Khwaja sahib also belonged to the same Movement. It was a matter of wonder how the heart of a kafir had so much sympathy for Islam, such great fervour for the preaching of Islam and such tremendous enthusiasm for the propagation of Islam. Later I came to know that the Khwaja sahib had already set up a permanent centre in England for the propagation of Islam, and many people in Europe had entered the fold of Islam through him. He was also publishing a magazine in English and its Urdu version was published monthly under the title Isha‘at-i Islam from Lahore. Later I also learnt that he is a member of the Ahmadiyya Community which does not believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib to be a prophet but only a Mujaddid. Anyhow the more I came to know about his Islamic activities the more his respect and estimation increased in my heart. I never accepted for a moment that, God forbid, he was a kafir, although most people considered him a kafir and firmly refused to accept him as a Muslim.

I never saw the Khwaja sahib again after this. However, I witnessed an incident of his life which I still remember and probably will remember forever.

After the speech of the Khwaja sahib, the Conference was adjourned to the next day. All the guests went to their respective rooms. One room was reserved for the Khwaja sahib and he went to his room. At the end of the session I was roaming about and passed by the Khwaja sahib’s room. There was complete silence; no one was in the gallery except me. I saw the Khwaja sahib all alone offering his ‘asr prayer. I have seen all kinds of people offering their prayers, great and small, learned and uneducated. But witnessing the concentration, absorption, humility and submissiveness with which the Khwaja sahib was offering his prayer made a deep impact on my heart and created an indelible impression which still exists even today.

The definition of prayer [in Hadith — Editor] is that the person offering it should feel as if he is seeing God, or if not then at least he should have the feeling that God can see him. It was clearly evident from the Khwaja sahib’s prayer that he was feeling as if he was seeing God. Without this feeling, that state of concentration, absorption, humility and submissiveness cannot be attained, of which the Khwaja sahib was a visual embodiment.

It is possible that some people still consider him a kafir, but my heart carries a deep impression of his practice of Islam which even vicissitudes of time could not efface.

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