Hazrat Chaudhry Sahibra was a companion of the Promised Messiahas, member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, judge of the Federal Court of India, president of the International Court of Justice, Pakistan’s first foreign minister, Pakistan’s representative to the UNO General Assembly and a devout servant of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in Islam.
Ataul Mujeeb Rashed
Missionary In-charge, UK
Hidden aspects of his character
Now, I shall state an aspect of Hazrat Chaudhry Sahib’sra character known to very few. I am an eyewitness to these. These incidents relate to the 1971 and 1972.
As already mentioned, Hazrat Chaudhry Sahibra used to stay in a very small flat. I was staying in the adjoining flat while my family was in Pakistan. We had agreed on a schedule in which Chaudhry Sahib would enter through the middle door at an appointed time and we would have breakfast together at the same table. I used to open the middle door shortly prior to that time and Chaudhry Sahibra used to come dressed in his dressing gown at the exact time; I was also dressed in a gown. We both used to go to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.
Let me mention here that the very first day I had respectfully and firmly requested that I be granted the service to prepare breakfast saying that it would be a great source of blessings for me: “You take your seat; I shall prepare the breakfast and serve you.” However, Chaudhry Sahibra emphatically replied, “No, I will fully participate in preparing the breakfast.” I had no choice but to comply with his directive.
Accordingly, Chaudhry Sahibra participated fully in preparing the breakfast. Then he would take the cups and plates to the next room where we both had breakfast. Afterwards, despite my insistence, he joined me in washing up. That was very hard for me, but as the saying goes:
اَلْاَمْرُ فَوْقَ الْاَدَب
“Obedience to an order gets preference over respect.” I had no choice.
The tale of an orange
A very interesting incident took place one day. I went to the shops and saw noticed ripe, big oranges. I purchased some and placed them on the breakfast table.
The next day, when Chaudhry Sahibra arrived and before starting breakfast, he picked up one orange and asked me, “Rashed Sahib, will you have half of the orange?” In my naivety and informality, I replied, “No.”
“Then I will not have it either, as the remaining half will go to waste” Chaudhry Sahibra replied before placing the orange back. Chaudhry Sahibrasuffered from diabetes and was on medical advice. He could have one small orange or half of a large one in the morning. I was unaware of that and therefore made the mistake that day.
The following morning at breakfast, Chaudhry Sahibra again took an orange and asked me the same question. I replied immediately, “Yes, indeed.” Then he cut the orange and had half of it himself and gave me the other half. Thus, I got half of an orange from him and an excellent lesson as well.
Compliance with medical advice
During the period I saw Hazrat Chaudhry Sahibra, his diet was rather small and selective. He had suffered from diabetes for about 40 years. He followed medical advice very strictly and scrupulously and never took anything against the advice of doctors, even if someone insisted. That was the secret of his good health. Allah blessed him with a long and active life.
Looking at his discipline and strict compliance with medical advice, some of his close friends commented that “Chaudhry Sahib is not suffering from diabetes, rather diabetes is suffering from Chaudhry Sahib.” Sometimes Chaudhry Sahibra happened to hear these comments and it led to a dignified smile on his face, but it did not affect his routine.
Advice by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira
Cocoa powder in hot milk was his favourite drink. The reason for that, as he put it, was that when he was about to leave for Europe for the first time, he visited Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira for prayers and guidance. One advice he received from Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra was about the use of cocoa. He said:
“You are going to England which is a cold country. People think that they need to drink alcohol to protect themselves from the cold. I am a physician and know very well that this is incorrect. If you feel like protecting yourself from the cold, use cocoa. It is nourishing and protects from the ill effects of cold.” He remembered that advice always and benefited from it a great deal.
Preparing breakfast himself
One day, when he came for breakfast, he said that he wanted to prepare the whole breakfast himself. I said, “Okay, go ahead, if that is your wish.”
Chaudhry Sahibra poured milk in the saucepan, then he broke a bread into small pieces and added to the milk, next he cracked two eggs and put in the saucepan and finally some honey according to his taste. He cooked all that thoroughly.
Even today as I write this, I can visualise Chaudhry Sahibra holding a spoon in his hand stirring the mixture slowly to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the saucepan and getting burnt. In a few minutes, the halwa-like food was ready. We both ate the delicious breakfast from one dish.
Breakfast out of one pan
A very interesting incident took place one day. Hazrat Chaudhry Sahibra and I were preparing breakfast in the kitchen. Having fried the eggs, I was going to put them in a plate. Chaudhry Sahibra, who was standing next to me on the left, caught hold of my upper arm and asked, “Rashed Sahib, what are you going to do?” I replied, “These eggs are ready. I am going to put them in the plate and take them to the next room for our breakfast.”
“Who is going to wash the plate?” he asked. “I myself will”, I replied. He said, “Rather than wash the plate, why not eat out of the frying pan.” “As you like”, I replied.
I took the frying pan to the dining room and once again had the good fortune of eating breakfast from the same pan with a respectable companion of the Promised Messiahas.
A full life
By the grace of Allah, Hazrat Chaudhry Sahibra had a successful, full and busy life under divine mercy. Even during his temporal and political engagements, he always gave preference to his religion.
He managed to observe prayers on time with extraordinary commitment. He made full use of time. He adorned his time with the remembrance of Allah. He carried out Jihad of the pen and tongue throughout his life. He translated the Holy Quran into English, which was very popular. He authored many books. He wrote inspiring books about Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira and his own mother. He wrote his autobiography in great detail and in a very humble style. He also translated writings of the Promised Messiahas in English.
During the last few years of his life, he excused himself from worldly commitments and devoted himself completely to the service of faith till his last breath. These services by him fall in the category of ongoing charity. The days when he was busy with composition, writing and translation work, spending most of his time on that, he would say:
“I am busy the whole day and this continues late into the night. At last when I get tired and plan to sleep, I put my pen down and tell myself, ‘Zafrulla Khan! You are very tired, rest a while. You have worked today according to your God-given capacity. Go to sleep now. If Allah grants you more time, do the rest tomorrow.’ Saying that, I lie down on my bed.”
What a mystical and inspiring style of going to sleep!
He frequently used a Persian verse in his conversation:
That is to say, “Nobody has ever accomplished all the tasks of this world.” That is true indeed. However, this too is a reality that in using the time to full effect and using it for beneficent works, Chaudhry Sahibra set an example worth following. He regarded each day and every moment to be Allah’s blessing and tried to spend it in the best possible way.
Talking about this subject, he frequently used the word “respite” that was most appropriate in this sagacious statement. In his conversations, the subject of gratitude for divine favours came up frequently. With reference to sleep, he used to mention very often that of the innumerable favours that Allah had bestowed on him, one was that he fell asleep as soon as he put his head on the pillow.
Thus, none of his time was wasted. He stated many times that when travelling by road, as his car stopped at traffic lights for a short while, he would fall asleep and wake up when it restarted.
The final journey
To conclude, I would like to mention about two of my last meetings with Hazrat Chaudhry Sahibra – one during his lifetime and the other after his demise.
When I came to London for the second time in 1983, he was staying in London but had decided to spend the last days of his life in Pakistan. He used to say that he wanted to go to Pakistan while fully mobile on his feet, not enclosed in a coffin.
A few days after my arrival in London, he was scheduled to leave for Pakistan on 19 November 1983 and farewell meetings were ongoing. Chaudhry Sahibra generally treated everyone with love and affection that was more noticeable during the farewell meetings.
Besides the elderly and young members of the Jamaat, he also treated children with affection. However, I never saw him holding any child in his lap. Our son, Ataul Munem Rashed was 11 months old then. I carried him to meet Chaudhry Sahibra thinking that he might or might not get this chance ever again. Chaudhry Sahibra took him in his lap and luckily, he benefitted from his love and prayers. Someone photographed this unique moment but regrettably I do not know who he was and where that photo is now.
On 19 November 1983, he travelled to Lahore via a PIA flight from London Heathrow. This humble one was among those who went to bid him farewell. I had the blessing of embracing him on that occasion which turned out to be the farewell embrace. Fortunately, the photograph taken on that occasion is still there.
He passed away on 1 September 1985 in Lahore. The UK Ahmadiyya Jamaat, greatly indebted to the late Chaudhry Sahibra for his favours, sent a 3-man delegation to Pakistan for participation in the funeral prayerwith approval from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh. This humble one was also included in this delegation.
His body lay in the house of Chaudhry Hameed Nasrullah Khan Sahib’s house, where he had passed away. There was a steady stream of Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis visiting for condolences. We entered the room where his body was laid. Dressed in white sheets, the pious saint rested with amazing splendour. Even at that time, the badge bearing the kalima
لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰهِ
which he had dedicated all his faculties for throughout his life, was shining on his chest.
After seeing the luminous face of the soul-at-rest, we participated twice in the funeral prayers for him at Lahore and Rabwah.
Later, when he was being buried in the special enclosure of Bahishti Maqbara, Rabwah with the permission of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, this humble one also had the good fortune of taking part in his burial and joining in the final prayer.
Hazrat Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrulla Khan Sahibra departed from this world having lived a very blessed and successful life.
May Allah the Exalted grant him a worthy station close to Him. He has departed, but his memories live on and will always be remembered affectionately.