By Bashir Ahmad Rafiq
I had the privilege to be under the direct guidance of my maternal grandfather Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Ilyas Khan Sahib in my formative years. I was sent at an early age of 6 to Mastung, Baluchistan, where he lived, to stay with him. I stayed there for a year and a half. During this period he was my guardian and teacher. He loved me immensely and prayed for me.
In 1941 he came to Peshawar to live with his son Abdus Salam Khan Sahib, who was my Mamoo (maternal uncle). I was then a grown up child and was 11 years of age. As there was no middle school in my village my Mamoon took me with him to Peshawar and got me admitted to a high school. Hazrat Maulvi Sahib was also staying with his son Abdul Salam Khan Sahib. I remained under his guidance and supervision for another two years.
After school most of my time was spent with him. We used to sleep outside the house in the open during summer months. He used to tell me stories of Prophets and of the Promised Messiah (alaihi Salaam). He used to sprinkle water on my face to wake me up for Fajr prayers. After Fajr he would recite the Holy Quran in a loud voice while I listened to his melodious Tilawat.
Once while in Mastung, Baluchistan, I was accompanying him for an afternoon stroll. We saw that a large number of people were standing on both sides of the road. There was also a large contingent of police. On enquiry we were told that the Khan of Qalat (the Ruler of the Qalat State) was passing through that road. We also stood among the multitude. After a while I saw a convoy of cars with a police escort passing near us. People were shouting welcome slogans and waving to the Khan. When the Khan’s car came in front of us it suddenly stopped. The Khan who was of a huge built got out of his car and came straight towards Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Ilyas Khan Sahib, my grandfather. He shook Hazrat Maulvi Sahib’s hand and then enquired about me. Hazrat Maulvi Sahib told him that I was his grandson. The Khan said to him, I had invited you several times to come for a few days to Qalat and bless Qalat with your presence but you had never accepted my invitation. I would now take your grandson with me to Qalat so that you were compelled to come and collect him from there. The Khan then grabbed my hand. I started crying, as I got scared that the Khan was going to take me away with him. Hazrat Maulvi Sahib promised that he would spare some time and would visit the Khan. The Khan then requested him to pray for him and his subjects.
In 1928 the Afghan King Amanullah Khan decided to go on a European tour. He boarded the Vice-Regal Special train from Chamman in Balochistan. There was a large crowed at Quetta Railway Station to welcome and greet the King. Among this huge multitude of people was also Hazrat Maulvi Sahib, my grandfather, standing on the platform. The train stopped. The King was standing in the door of his special Saloon responding to the slogans of welcome by the people. Suddenly he disembarked the train and came straight towards Hazrat Maulvi Sahib. Everybody was surprised and alarmed, as the King was not scheduled to disembark the train. His security guards rushed and made a circle of protective shield around him. The King came straight to Hazrat Maulvi Sahib and shook his hands. He then requested Hazrat Maulvi Sahib to pray for him and Afghanistan. The king then returned to his special compartment and the Royal train pulled off. After the train had steamed out of the station, people gathered around him and asked him as to how he knew the King. Hazrat Maulvi Sahib was greatly surprised himself and told the crowd that he had never seen or met the King before and that he did not know why the King came to him and shook his hands. Hazrat Maulvi Sahib always had a celestial glow on his face, which attracted people towards him. May be the King was attracted towards him with the same reason.
Hazrat Maulvi Sahib was a great scholar of the Holy Quran, the Hadith and the Islamic Jurisprudence. People used to flock to his Dars (Commentary) of the Holy Quran in Peshawar and Mastung, Balochistan. His Friday sermons were treasures of knowledge.
In December 1958 I had a farewell meeting with Hazrat Musleh Maud Khalifatul Masih Thani, May Allah be pleased with him, before leaving for England. At the end of the meeting I requested Huzoor to give me some advice. Huzoor said,
“Follow in the footsteps of your grandfather. He should be a roll model for you in life.”
In 1964 I was the Deputy Imam of the London Mosque. One night I saw my grandfather in a dream. He embraced me for a long time and then took off his cloak and asked me to wear it. I wore it. After a few days I was appointed the Imam of the London Mosque and Missionary In charge. I then interpreted the dream. The wearing of my grandfather’s cloak to signified my becoming an Imam.
Hazrat Maulvi Sahib was a charming, cheerful and handsome person. He was always dressed in white Shalwar Qamees and a white turban. He was very particular about cleanliness of his dress. Every morning he would neatly comb his beard.
In 1947 I was serving in Furqan Force in Kashmir when I heard the news of his demise. Innalillahi wa inna alai hi rajoon.
By Dr. Hamidullah Khan
Hazrat Maulana Ghulam Rajeekee Sahib (ra) was one of the great companions of the Promised Messiah (as). Read more…
Late Hadhrat Maulavi Muhammad Ilyās was a saintly person of Frontier Province in Pakistan. He was a staunch and fearless Muballigh of Ahmadiyyat. His biography, Hayāt-i-Ilyās has been recently published. This book is replete with stories of how Allah saved him and helped him in the field of tablīgh throughout his life.
He says that when he accepted Ahmadiyyat and started preaching, there was a great uproar by opponents in the whole town of Chārsadda, his hometown. His opponents threatened him every day that they will torch his house and will burn the whole family in that blaze. Along with that, his social boycott was also launched.
In such circumstances, Allah melted the heart of one of his pupils who would bring his few groceries and deliver him at his house at night. It has been related by his wife that when serious threats of torching his house were being given to him, one night, Deputy Superintendent of Police knocked at their door. When Hadhrat Maulavi Muhammad Ilyās came at the door, he consoled him and said that he should sleep in peace and that no one will ever be allowed to harm him.
Now, listen to the reply, which Hadhrat Maulavi Muhammad Ilyās gave to that police officer. He told him that his bravery was apparent that he had come to visit him at the dead of night to console him and did not have the courage to come in the day. So far as his offer of protecting him was concerned, he should know that he did not need that. The angels of God would protect his home and so did it happen. His opponents were so much scared that none dared to torch his house. (From Hayāt-i-Ilyās by Abdus-Salam Khan, pp. 29-31)
From the book Inspiring Events in the Field of Tabligh by Ataul Mujeeb Rashed
Hadhrat Maulvi Muhammad Ilyas was my great grandfather. He accepted Ahmadiyyat the true Islam in 1909 and became a Waliullah (friend of Allah). The faith inspiring stories regarding his life, his love of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya and his zeal for tabligh have been compiled by my late grandfather Abdus Salam Khan of Peshawar in an Urdu book “Hayat-e-Ilyas.”
This website will InshaAllah contain the scan of the Urdu book, and its English translation. Furthermore, this website will also recount the life of my late grandfather Abdus Salam Khan Sahib of Peshawar who also wrote a short book on his life.
May Allah ordain this website to be of benefit to Ahmadi Muslims around the world. Ameen. I also pray that the progeny of Hadhrat Maulvi Muhammad Ilyas and Abdus Salam Khan of Peshawar are able to follow in the illustrious footsteps of their elders. Ameen.
Hadhrat Maulavi Muhammad Ilyās related another incident that in Chārsadda, due to Ahmadiyyat, three persons opposed him bitterly. Praise be to the Lord that every one of them was extremely humiliated under the wrath of God. The details of these stories are very painful, but very heart warming.
Among the three enemies, one was Mullah Mahmūd who tried with his magic spells or talismans that Maulavi Muhammad Ilyās’s wife should start hating her husband. He was himself implicated in an affair with a woman—his relative—and as a result of which he had to flee from his own home to which he never returned.
Second enemy was one Akbar Shāh who was an accomplished swimmer. He used to say that if Muhammad Ilyās ever dared to come to the river, he would drown him. Observe the might of the Almighty that he, who boasted to be a master swimmer, was himself drowned and died while bathing in the same river.
The third enemy was one Mukarram Khān. He was a celebrated and influential landlord and headman of the village. He went to the extremes in executing boycott against Maulavi Muhammad Ilyās. He came under the wrath of God thus, that firstly his wife died with tuberculosis. Next were his three sons who died of the same disease. His whole property was liquidated in gambling. His headman-ship was confiscated. He became so poor that he had to earn his living by driving tongas (carts driven by horses).
One day, it so happened that Maulavi Muhammad Ilyās hired a tonga and inquired the driver about the people of Chārsadda. When he asked about Mukarram Khān, the tonga driver said, Sir, I am the same luckless Mukarram Khān who has ruined his worldly life and his hereafter by opposing the truth. (From Hayāt-i-Ilyās, Abdus-Salām Khān, pp. 34-36)
This kind of divine wrath comes over those who make themselves deserving due to their own misdeeds. Among them are especially those who run amok against the truth and are arrogant and humiliate the people whom God Almighty loves. These are the unfortunate ones whom divine wrath gets hold so quickly and severely that they become the hallmark of humiliation for others.
From Inspiring Events in the Field of Tabligh by Ataul Mujeeb Rashed