By Mrs. Amina Chaudhary, Ridgeville, Ontario
Rendered into English by: Zakaria Virk.
My name is Amina Chaudhary. I am a graduate in Nursing from Lahore. In 1968 I was sent to Medina by the government of Pakistan. Next year I got married to Abdur Rahman Akhtar, son of Chaudhary Mehtab Din of Sheikupura who was an employee of WAPDA (water and power development authority). A few days after our wedding, my husband was transferred to Murrie (near Rawalpindi).
Here we had the honor of meeting Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (ra), 3rd Khalifa (Spiritual Head) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We were excited to meet Huzur. When we had audience with him, he smiled and asked are you newly married? And then he turned to Abdur Rahman and asked who your father is? He replied I am son of Chaudhry Mehtab Din, police inspector, and am stationed here in Murree by WAPDA. Huzur complained to him every day electricity is shut off in our home, to which Abdur Rahman said: I will speak to the lineman, and inshallah it will not happen again.
Then Huzur turned towards me and asked whose daughter are you? I replied I am eldest daughter of Dr. Abdullah, and granddaughter of Qari Ghulam Yasin. I work in Medina. Huzur seemed pleased and said a member of my community works in Mecca, and is an electrician. Whenever there is problem with electricity in Khana Ka’aba, he restores it. Then Huzur said to me: do not leave him behind; take him with you when you go back to Medina. However if anyone finds out, you are an Ahmadi they incarcerate you for 10 or 12 days, and then they release you. Upon this Abdur Rahman said: Huzur I beg your pardon, at this Huzur also smiled.
This memorable meeting ended with prayers, whenever I think of it I immensely relish the memory of this. After two months of vacation, I returned to Medina. On 27th September 1969 Abdur Rahman also arrived. Soon the holy month of Ramdan was upon us. We started to enjoy the holy atmosphere of Medina, performing Islamic rituals. My parents had given me Holy Quran (Tafsir-e-saghir) enveloped in a embroider cloth, which we used to take to Masjid Nabwi for recitation. We used to recite Quran after Asr prayer and come home after saying Maghrib and Isha’a prayers.
It was 3rd day of Ramadan; I was in ladies side of the mosque, and Abdur Rahman on the men’s side. As soon as Asr prayer started, Abdur Rahman put the holy book beside him on a pedestal and started the prayers. There was a man standing in the row behind, who asked Abdur Rahman, can I see this tafseer? Abdur Rahman opened the first page on which it was written Mirza Bashir-u-ddin Mahmood Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih II. Reading the name this man became furious and said: how dare you bring this obscene literature? Abdur Rahman was startled; wondering why is he using such a bad word about the holy book. Being young and brash Abdur Rahman put the Holy Quran on his head and challenged him: this is the Glorious Quran, why are you using abusive words? This is the Book of Allah. But that man was bent on harming Abdur Rahman.
This man was Agha Shorish Kashmiri, a reputed journalist, author and fiery speaker from Lahore. He was an arch enemy of Ahmadiyya community. He started shouting and soon there were many Pakistani students gathered around him. He called police and told them, this man is Mirzai-Qadiani and an Israeli spy.
People become suspicious when they hear the word Israel. This incident happened on the night of 12th November 1969. Soon there was a huge crowd and police took possession of the holy book Tafsir-e-saghir. Suspecting trouble, I arrived there. Seeing me the students were deeply ashamed after finding out that Abdur Rahman was my husband. Before my marriage I lived in a hostel, there was lot of leftover food, which I used to collect and give it to these poor Pakistani students who greatly appreciated. Usually I am not an angry person, but on that day I was furious and said to them: you are shameless people, you have no respect, God’s curse be upon you all. Later on police took away our passports from our residence.
Shorish said to the police: she is using abusive language. He did not know that these poor madrassa students knew me very well, that I used to feed them. I said to him: you are the biggest trouble maker of all, you are shameless, and wherever you go you bring trouble. His mouth was zipped. Anyhow I brought Abdur Rahman home upon my recognizance. There were false rumors flying all over Medina. After coming home from the police station, these Mulla’s were distressed, and don’t know what they were conspiring against us and inciting police against us. Eventually one day police arrived at our home and served notice to appear in police station on a fixed date. We arrived at the police station on the appointed date. They questioned us about our faith, to which we gave them satisfactory answers. We recited Kalima shahadat. Our articles of faith were the same as Muslims.
Now the police was nonplussed what to do? Eventually they asked why name of Mirza Bashirudin Mahmood Ahmad was written on the ‘tafsir’. We told them he was spiritual head of our community; he wrote commentary of the Quran like previous scholars had done before him. It is the same Glorious Quran like yours. Then we explained to them system of Ahmadiyya Khilafat. They brought in a Sindi Mulla who knew Urdu. They handed over the Tafsir to him and gave him a month to study to find out any un-Islamic teachings contained in it.
After a month our case was brought before the Chief Justice – Superior court of Medina. He was Imam of the Masjid Nabwi as well. Sindi Maulvi told the judge these people believe do not believe in the virgin birth of Hazrat Isa (peace be upon him). They also believe the status of Founder of Ahmdiyya Community was superior to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). (Naoozu billah)
We told the judge whatever this ignorant Mulla is telling you are total lies. He has no proof to back up his claims. We vehemently deny that status of the founder of our community is superior to Holy Prophet of Islam. (saw), rather the reverse.
After listening to the Sindi Maulvi, the Chief Justice said to us: Just declare that you do not believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and we deny any association with him. We replied that if Mirza sahib had taught anything which was contrary to Islamic teachings, then we will glad declare it. But in his teachings there is nothing which is contrary to teachings of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Therefore we refuse to say what you want us to say. The Qazi said: never mind just say that Mirza is a heretic. We refused. At this point we explained our beliefs and told him that members of our community perform pilgrimage every year, we also intend to perform Hajj. Chief Qazi said to Abdur Rahman: I am ordering you to go back to your country in three days. At this I said: he will go back after the Hajj.
Another objection raised was we have a community center in Israel, and this country is at war with Arab countries. We said Ahmadiyya community has been flourishing there well before the creation of Israel. There are Palestinian Ahmadis living there, no Pakistanis. Upon hearing our incontrovertible reply, he decided not to take action against us.
Shorish creating trouble
Shorish Kashmiri (real name Abdul Karim, incidentally in Urdu Shorish means trouble) called for a public meeting in which he declared we carried out ‘jihad’ against a Qadiani, and this ‘mirzai’ has been arrested. In fact we were living happily in our home. We offered salat at home, when we went out shopping we would hear false rumors. We heard these fake news and wondered what kind of animals these mulla-type Pakistanis are? Contrary to this Saudi police treated us fairly and justly. They told us we have nothing against you, but your own compatriots and wretched maulvis who are registering complaints against you.
Once the month of Ramadan ended, the court instructed us to appear. We were informed that we are not Muslims and must go back to our country. We retorted: let us say we are not Muslims, then please convert us to Islam? Chief Justice said: we cannot do this. We told him you are sitting here in the chair of a Chief Justice, if you don’t hand down us justice, on the Day of Judgment your neck will be in our hands. Then you won’t be able to dispense justice. Chief Justice asked us: why don’t you like Maulvi Maudoodi and don’t read his books? Now it dawned upon us who were making trouble for us.
Performing Hajj in handcuffs
We had intended to perform Hajj. Abdur Rahman passport was in police possession. We asked for his passport, but were told that some prisoners are going to Mecca and Abdur Rahman can travel in their company. I was instructed to go to Mecca on my own, but a meeting place was arranged for us. It was planned that after the Hajj I will come back to Medina, and Abdur Rahman will come back with other prisoners.
Something went wrong – either I did not understand or the police did not explain to me clearly. Anyway Abdur Rahman was housed in a Mecca jail, along with other prisoners. He was not at the meeting place so I started searching for him. First day passed without any luck. I prayed to God and cried profusely in desperation. Next day I performed ‘tawaf’ (circumambulation). After running between hills of SAFA AND MARWA all pilgrims had to go to Mina. In a rather state of panic, I kept looking for Abdur Rahman but could not find him in this huge gathering of millions of people who had arrived for Hajj.
I had come to Mecca with a family, so I went with them to the valley of Mina (4.3 miles from Mecca). Once there I started looking for Abdur Rahman early in the morning and arrived at a police station. I am shy by nature, and feel uneasy in any situation. But on this day somehow I gathered courage and looked for him in every police station. Finally I arrived at Mina police headquarter. It was night time, when I entered the building I was flabbergasted. There was a police inspector who had been assigned to be head of Mina police jurisdiction. As luck would have it, his mother had been in my care. He was an elderly person who treated me like his daughter; his mother loved me to no bounds. As soon as he saw me, he stood up. Seeing him I started crying uncontrollably having fallen to this miserable situation in a foreign country.
He gave me water to drink, made me comfortable and listened to my whole story. He said to me: Ya Sitti – meaning my dear sister/daughter. He was mad at Pakistani Mulla’s. Right away he phoned all the police stations to immediately locate Abdur Rahman. He provided a Jeep for me with two police officers who were instructed to stay with me as long as it is required, to drop me wherever I wanted, and to report to him directly upon return.
In the Mina Jail
I arrived at the Mina jail house where Abdur Rahman was locked up. He said, at 1 am in the night in Mina jail – his name was announced so he wondered what the heck is going on. I saw Abdur Rahman and naturally started crying uncontrollably but he consoled me saying: God will not perish us, we have been given the chance to prove we are strong and determined Ahmadis. We told our stories to each other sitting in the jail house office. His clothes were dirty, Hajj was over and it was Eid day. We had to stay another two days in the valley of Mina.
After the meeting police brought me back to the tent where I was staying temporarily. I did wudhu and busied myself in prayers (salat). A thought came to my mind that during the time of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) he was persecuted in this very city of Mecca. His trials and tribulations were far worse and greater; thank God we have been through some of these trials. I humbly prayed to God Almighty to make us strong and keep us steadfast.
Back to Medina
Next day I was in a positive state of mind. With clean clothes for Abdur Rahman I went to the Mina jail. I gave him the fresh set of clothes and returned. On the third day I went there again, but he had been transferred to Mecca jail. I arrived in Mecca, performed ‘tawaf’ and returned to Medina safely. Upon arrival I went straight to police station and met the inspector who had arranged our travel to Mecca. Hearing my story he was disturbed and ordered that Abdur Rahman be brought immediately to Medina.
During this whole incident 12 days passed just as Huzur had predicted that they keep you in jail 10 or 12 days and then set you free.
Upon returning home Abdur Rahman told me that he was very concerned about me as I was alone. The policeman used to handcuff me during the tawaf, and accompany me while running between Safa and Marwa hillocks. A police officer was assigned to keep a watchful eye me all the time. Once an older policeman was escorting me, he could not run fast enough. I told him if you let me run alone, I promise to return. But he put his hand with closed fingers on his throat as if slashing it, meaning that they will cut off my throat. Alhamdolillah I performed Hajj while I was handcuffed. Pakistanis would ask me for what crime are you being punished? I would just shrug my shoulders.
The case lasted for 10 months in the Medina court. Finally the judge wrote by hand in Abdur Rahman passport that he is a Muslim. (A copy of the passport page is being printed in this book).
Immigration to Denmark
During this period a cousin brother of Abdur Rahman –Mr. Mahmood Virk– informed us that government is in dire need of workers in Denmark, therefore if the circumstances are not favorable in S. Arabia, we should move to Denmark. So we immigrated to Denmark, but Denmark was a free society, and learning language was another hurdle. Finally after staying there for four years, Abdur Rahman arrived in Canada on 6th December 1974 and settled in Kitchener. After three months I arrived in Canada in March 1975, along with my three children Imran, Rehan and daughter Ashfa. We were blessed with a son Imran during our stay in Medina. In 1977 Abdur Rahman and my parents arrived in Canada. My children are all very loving, obedient, hardworking and successful in their professions. We are blessed with seven grandchildren.
Note: This report of this incident was published in a twisted form by Kashmiri in his journal ‘Chittan’ under the heading ‘ safar nama Hijaz’ and subsequently in his book ‘Shab jaey keh mun boodam’. PP 181-182.
Munificence of Allah
Living in Medina was the lowest point in our life. But after coming to Canada our life has been the highest point in every respect. We purchased our first poultry farm in Smithville in 1977 with 13,000 birds; I used to pick up eggs daily by hand while reciting ‘subhan Allah’ continuously. Subsequently in 1981 we purchased a farm in Wainfleet, then in Newmarket with 20,000 birds. Today in our poultry farm there are 142,000 birds, and our farm is considered state– of– the art poultry farm in all of Canada.
Who would have thought that the young man, who performed Hajj in handcuffs, would one day be an established successful businessman of Canada? In ‘Aiwane-Tahir’ building which houses the headquarters of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, there is a list of names engraved on the wall. Abdur Rahman name is on top of the list of contributors who gave $67,000 for the construction of this building. He has donated money for the construction of Canadian mosques. These are just two shining examples of his devotion to Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at.
This is nothing but due to sheer grace, and mercy of Allah. God Almighty has bestowed on us innumerable favors for which we cannot thank Him enough. All praise belongs to Allah.