CHAPTER 39: TAZKIRAT-UL-SHAHADATAIN (AN ACCOUNT OF TWO MARTYRDOMS) AND THE MARTYRDOM OF SAHIBZADA ABDUL LATIF

The book Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain

Hazrat Mirza published the Urdu edition of the book Tazkirat-ul- Shahadatain on October 16, 1903. A Persian edition of thebook was published in July of 1904 for readers in Afghanistan and other Persian speaking regions with the idea that the book would help in propagating Hazrat Mirza’s mission in these areas. The book Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain is an account of Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s visit to Qadian, and his subsequent martyrdom in Kabul (Afghanistan). It also details the arguments that Hazrat Mirza presented to him regarding the truthfulness of his claims on various occasions during Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s stay in Qadian.

Sahibzada Abdul Latif

Sahibzada Abdul Latif was a resident of Khost in Afghanistan. He was a wealthy man, who was highly regarded in the area for his piety and scholarship and was known to be a recipient of spiritual visions and Divine revelations. He had thousands of students and disciples in Afghanistan.

Fortuitously, Sahibzada Abdul Latif came across some books written by Hazrat Mirza and he read in them arguments in support of his claims. These arguments carried conviction to his heart for he was a man of great learning and piety, and he walked in righteousness and purity of heart before God. His pure conscience unhesitatingly embraced the fact that Hazrat Mirza had been appointed by Allah, and that his claims were true.1 

Reading Hazrat Mirza’s works created such an ineffable love and reverence for himthat it became burdensome for Sahibzada Abdul Latif to keep away from meeting the holy person. This loving devotion and attraction finally resulted in Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s decision to go for Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), and on the way to detour to Qadian for a meeting with Hazrat Mirza. 

Accordingly, he requested permission from the King of Afghanistan, Ameer Habibullah Khan, to proceed on this journey. Sahibzada Abdul Latif was held in high esteem by the King who considered him to be a pious scholar and the leader of all religious scholars in his realm. In fact, the King had chosen Sahibzada Abdul Latif to place the crown on his head during his coronation so that his reign may be blessed. The King not only accorded him permission, but also gave him a cash grant to assist in his traveling expenses.

With this permission in hand, Sahibzada Abdul Latif journeyed to Qadian, and on meeting Hazrat Mirza, he was so overcome by emotions of love and affection for him that he set aside any thoughts of leaving Qadian. The time window to depart for Hajj slipped away, but Sahibzada Abdul Latif stayed on in Qadian for several months more. In his book Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain, Hazrat Mirza observes the following sentiments in this connection:

I swear by God in Whose hands is my life that when I met him, I found him so completely convinced of my claim and devout in my following that it is not possible for a man to be more so. Like a glass vial that is filled with perfume, so too did I find him filled with my love.

Just as his face was glowing with spirituality, so did his heart impress me as being aglow with spirituality. A quality worthy of emulation in this pious person was that he, in reality, gave precedence to religion over things of this world.

He was truly from among the righteous who, from fear of God, take their duty and obedience to God to the highest pinnacle. In order to seek the pleasure of God, they are willing to let go of their life, reputation, and wealth from their hands as if they were useless sticks and straws. His faith was so strong that if, by analogy, I refer to it as a great mountain, I am afraid that my analogy may not do justice to him…

And when he came to me, I questioned him as to the arguments by which he had known me to be the true Messiah.

He stated that the Quran was his great guide in this respect. Looking at the deep moral degradation of the world hehad come to the conclusion, he said, that the Muslims of the present age had fallen away from truth and were totally ignorant of what a true spiritual life was. Their lips declared a faith in God but their hearts were utter strangers to the true conception of faith.

In doctrine and in practice, in words and deeds they were involved in serious errors, innovations and transgressions of the Divine commandments. He further stated that this degraded condition of Islam became the more deplorable when the hostile attacks upon it were taken into consideration.

On account of the prevailing ignorance and darkness in which people were involved, their hearts had lost all vitality. The religion and righteousness which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) preached to his companions, and the sincerity, certainty and faith which they had, had almost vanished away. From all this he saw that Islam had lost its life and that, therefore, the time had come when someone should haveappeared to impart to it a new life.

Thus did he daily muse, he stated. Nay, he was daily and hourly becoming impatient because he did not hear the voice of the promised one, and the time had almost passed away. In those very days he was informed that one claimed to be the Promised Messiah at Qadian in the Punjab. Then he read the books which contained this claim and critically examined the arguments, and tested them by the Holy Quran, and found the Holy Book supporting every argument of the claim and confirming the statements of the claimant.

Hazrat Mirza then records in Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain the arguments that he had periodically presented to Sahibzada Abdul Latif regarding the veracity of his claim. This is not the place to go into their details, but there is one argument that appealed to me greatly, and it would not be inappropriate to mention it here. Hazrat Mirza states:

Moreover, this nation has been called the best of nations in the Quran. There can be no greater disgrace for this nation than that, while it is this nation that becomes (the like of) Jews, the Jesus (that comes for their redemption) should be from outside (the nation). If it is true that in a certain time most of the scholars of this nation shall become Jews i.e., will exhibit the characteristics of Jews, then it is equally true that the Jesus who will come for their reformation will not be from the outside. But just as certain individuals have been called Jews, in a like manner it is an individual who will be named Jesus.

Following this, Hazrat Mirza validates his claim of being the Messiah by listing sixteen similarities that he shares with Jesus, son of Mary. The proof is overwhelming and leaves no doubt about the veracity of Hazrat Mirza’s claim.

Sahibzada Abdul Latif departs from Qadian

Sahibzada Abdul Latif stayed in Qadian for several months and benefited greatly from the company of Hazrat Mirza. Ahmad Noor, who was one of Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s disciples, relates that Sahibzada Abdul Latif began repeatedly receiving the following revelation during his stay in Qadian: “Forfeit your life in this way and do not hesitate; for God desires this for the welfare of the land of Kabul.” Once Sahibzada Abdul Latif said: “It has been revealed to me that the sky is clamoring, and the earth is trembling like a feverish person; the world does not know that this event is about to take place.

Finally, on receiving an indication from on High, Sahibzada Abdul Latif decided to depart from Qadian, and took leave of Hazrat Mirza. As a gesture of affection, Hazrat Mirza accompanied him well outside the precincts of Qadian. When it was time to say farewell, Sahibzada Abdul Latif broke down and involuntarily fell at the feet of Hazrat Mirza. Hazrat Mirza had never permitted anyone to touch his feet or knees to show their respect.

Once, when a youth from the Frontier province started to bow down towards his feet, Hazrat Mirza stopped him immediately and said: “God ordained people are sent into this world to erase polytheism, and not for being prostrated to.” However, when Sahibzada Abdul Latif broke down and fell at his feet, even Hazrat Mirza was upset momentarily, but he regained his composure with great effort, and asked him to get up. Sahibzada Abdul Latif, however, continued to lie there, and Hazrat Mirza said in Arabic: “The command takes precedence over respect.” At this, he got up and said, “The reason for my restlessness is that I am sure, in my heart, that I will not see you again in this life. I am now seeing you for the last time.” And with tears in his eyes, Sahibzada Abdul Latif left.

On his way back, he stayed at the residence of Sheikh Rahmatullah in Lahore. Sheikh Rahmatullah relates:

A very wealthy person had hosted a dinner reception to which we were also invited. Upon reaching this person’s residence, we found that the dinner had already been laid out in the dining room on a serving cloth spread out on the floor. As we entered the dining room and sat down to eat, Sahibzada Abdul Latif suddenly got up and started to leave while exclaiming repeatedly, “Filth! filth! filth!

We became very perturbed at this, and inquired from him what the matter was. Sahibzada Abdul Latif replied: “There is excrement in every plate instead of food. I cannot eat it.” We submitted, “Sir, the dishes are laden with pilaf and sweet-saffron rice.” He replied: “Certainly not! There is excrement in every plate. I cannot partake of it.” The upshot was that we returned home without eating.

The host of that dinner reception was greatly impressed. Instead of being offended, he admitted that he receives income from usury and the feast had been prepared using usurious money. In short, we were all greatly impressed by Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s spiritual vision.

From Lahore, Sahibzada Abdul Latif proceeded to his ancestral village Khost in Afghanistan. During the journey, he repeatedly remarked to his pupils: “The land of Kabul is in need of my blood for its reformation.” It is true that even if a hundred thousand hand bills announcing the claims of Hazrat Mirza had been distributed throughout Afghanistan, they would not have drawn the same attention to the claims of Hazrat Mirza as did the martyrdom of Sahibzada Abdul Latif. 

And only God knows what future consequences will flow out of this martyrdom. Since Hazrat Mirza himself has recorded the events leading up to the martyrdom, I consider it appropriate to relate the narrative in his words by quoting relevant excerpts.

Martyrdom of Sahibzada Abdul Latif

Hazrat Mirza writes:

I have previously mentioned that Sahibzada Abdul Latif came to Qadian from Khost in Afghanistan, and stayed with me and spent time in my company for several months. After this, when it had been inevitably decreed in the heavens that he shouldachieve the status of a martyr, the plan that unfolded for the purpose was that Sahibzada Abdul Latif took leave of me and returned to his homeland.

Now, as I have learned from reliable sources and eyewitnesses that as fate would have it, when he reached near the frontier of the kingdom of Kabul, he stopped in the British territory and sent a letter to Brigadier Muhammad Husain who was his student and the police commissioner. 

In this letter, he requested Brigadier Muhammad Husain to seek the King’s permission for his return, and to apprise him (Sahibzada Abdul Latif) accordingly so that he could present himself before the King in Kabul.2  He did not proceed without permission because, prior to his departure from Afghanistan, he had expressed the intention that he would be traveling to perform the Hajj. But this intention had not materialized because he had stayed on in Qadian for an extended period of time.

In the meanwhile, the time for performing the pilgrimage had passed for that year…so he considered it appropriate to write to Brigadier Muhammad Husain so that he may apprise the King of the real facts at an opportune time.

And in that letter, he wrote: “Although I had departed with the intention of performing Hajj, I had the privilege of meeting the Promised Messiah (on the way). Because God and His Messenger have commanded that priority be accorded to a meeting with the Promised Messiah and that he should be obeyed, I had to perforce stay on in Qadian. I did not adopt this course of action on my own volition but was constrained to do so because I considered it mandatory in keeping with the spirit of the Quran andHadith.”

When this letter reached Brigadier Muhammad Husain, he hesitated in presenting it immediately to the King. However, his deputy, who was opposed to Hazrat Mirza and was a mischievous person, somehow got to know that the letter was from Sahibzada Abdul Latif, and that he had stayed on in Qadian.

Through some stratagem, he got hold of that letter and presented it to the King. The King inquired angrily from Brigadier Husain if that letter had been addressed to him. Fearing the wrathful and angry disposition of the King at the time, he flatly denied it. What happened next was that, after waiting for several days, Sahibzada Abdul Latif wrote another letter to Brigadier Husain and dispatched it by mail. This letter was opened by the postmaster, and sent to the King.

Hazrat Mirza further continues:

Because martyrdom had been decreed by fate for Sahibzada Abdul Latif — and in heaven this holy man had joined the company of martyrs — the King acted with planned diplomacy and wrote to Sahibzada Abdul Latif to come without fear, and if the claims (of Hazrat Mirza) were correct then he too would become a disciple.The narrators say that they do not know whether the King sent the letter by mail or through a courier. At any rate, Sahibzada Abdul Latif departed for Kabul upon receiving that letter from the King and the Heavenly decree began to unfold.

Narrators have stated that when Sahibzada Abdul Latif passed through the bazaar of Kabul, he was mounted on a horse, and was followed by eight official horsemen. Even before his arrival in Kabul, it was widely known in the city that the King had tricked Sahibzada Abdul Latif into coming to Kabul.

After this, witnesses say that as Sahibzada Abdul Latif was passing through the bazaar, they and many other people on the street began to follow in his trail. They also state that the eight horsemen accompanying Sahibzada Abdul Latif had escorted him all the way from Khost because even before Sahibzada Abdul Latif hadreached Khost, the official warrant for his arrest had been received by the governor of Khost.

When Sahibzada Abdul Latif was presented before the King, the opposition had already put the King in an angry mood. For this reason, his behavior was very tyrannical.

The King commanded that Sahibzada Abdul Latif be made to stand at a distance from him because he reeked of smell. After a little while, he ordered that Sahibzada Abdul Latif be imprisoned in the fort and be restrained by chains known as ghara-ghraab. This was the same fort in which the King resided as well. These chains weigh 128 pounds and cover a person from the neck to the waist, and include handcuffs. In addition, he ordered shackles weighing 16 pounds to be put on his legs. Sahibzada Abdul Latif remained imprisoned for four months.3 

During this period, he was admonished several times on behalf of the King, and given to understand that if he repented from the belief that the Qadiani (a reference to Hazrat Mirza) is, in fact, the Promised Messiah, he would be allowed to go free. Every time, he gave the same reply as follows:

God has given me knowledge and the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood. After complete investigation, I have found that this person is, in reality, the Promised Messiah. Although I know that by adopting this position, my life is not safeand my family will be ruined, but, at this time, I give preference to my faith over my life and all worldly comforts.

Sahibzada Abdul Latif gave this reply, not once, but over and over again during the course of his imprisonment. This imprisonment was not like that in British prisons, where some consideration is given to human rights, but was a harsh confinement — a fate worse than death itself.

People looked with great amazement at Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s firmness and steadfastness, and an amazement indeed it was. 

Here was an illustrious person who owned an estate worth hundreds of thousands of rupees in the Kingdom of Kabul. He was widely acknowledged as a leader in the Kingdom on account of his excellence and piety. Sahibzada Abdul Latif had spent about fifty years of his life in ease and comfort. He had a large family and many friends.

And then to be cast suddenly into a ruthless imprisonment that was worse than death, the very thought of which makes one shudder. It was incredible that this person of delicate form, raised in the lap of luxury, could show such extraordinary patience in the face of this spirit-breaking imprisonment, and sacrifice his life for his faith; this especially so in light of the repeated messages he received that if he retracted from attesting to the truthfulness of the claim of the Qadiani person, he would be released honorably. 

Hazrat Mirza adds:

But this pious man, with a mighty faith, did not care one bit for these repeated offers. Again and again, he gave the same reply:

Do not expect me to prefer this world over my belief. How can it be that I deny — for fear of my death — a person whom I have identified well and investigated carefully? I cannot deny him. I see that I have found the truth, and I cannot commit the deceit of abandoning the proven truth for the sake of this life of a few days. I have decided that I am willing to give up my life, but the truth shall go with me.

The land of Kabul will never forget this reply, given over and over by this pious man. And the people of Kabul would neverhave seen such a display of faith and steadfastness in their lives. It is worth mentioning here that it is not the normal practice for the nobles of Kabul to repeatedly persuade a person to change his faith with offers of clemency. This was a special concession extended to Sahibzada Abdul Latif because he was an important person of the Kingdom, and had thousands of disciples. 

As already stated above, he was held in high esteem by the King on account of his knowledge and scholarship, and was considered to be a star among the religious scholars. It is possible that the King may have had some regrets that such a pious person would, of certainty, be killed by the unanimous verdict of the religious schol- ars. It is well known that, in one way, the reins of government in Kabul are in the hands of the clerics, for it is not possible for the King to do anything against the unanimous agreement of the clerics on an issue. 

It is within the realm of possibility that, on the one hand, the King was in fear of the clerics, and, on the other, he saw Sahibzada Abdul Latif to be innocent. This was the reason why, throughout the period of imprisonment, he kept instructing that if Sahibzada Abdul Latif denied that the man of Qadian was the Promised Messiah and repented from this belief, then an honorable release would follow. The motivation for imprisoning him in the same fort where he lived was also to create the opportunity for repeatedly giving him these instructions…

After four months of imprisonment had passed, the King summoned Sahibzada Abdul Latif to his presence in the open court and, once again, instructed him that if, even then, he denies in his presence, Mirza Qadiani and his principles, then he would be forgiven and honorably released. The King expressed his strong desire that he would accept this offer. Sahibzada Abdul Latif replied:

“It is impossible that I will relent from the truth. The punishment of the rulers of this world ends with death, but I am afraid of Him whose punishment will never end. However, since I am on the side of the truth, I desire that I should be given the opportunity to debate the clerics, who are against my beliefs. If the arguments prove me false, I should be punished…”

The King liked this suggestion, and Khan Mullah Khan and eight other Muslim jurists were selected for a debate in the Royal Mosque. A doctor from Lahore (Abdul Ghani), who by virtue of being from the province of Punjab was a bitter opponent, was appointed and sent as an arbitrator.

A large crowd was present at the time of the debate, and the narrators say that they were eye witnesses. The debate was conducted by written statements; the statements were written but not read out to the gathering. For this reason, the details of the debate remain unknown. The debate continued from seven in the morning to three in the afternoon. As the time for the late afternoon prayer (Asr) was ending, Sahibzada Abdul Latif was declared a disbeliever.

Hazrat Mirza continues:

In the final argument, he was asked that, if the man of Qadian is the Promised Messiah, then what was his opinion about Jesus (peace be upon him), as to whether he will come back to this world or not? With great steadfastness, he replied: “Jesus (peace be upon him) has died and he will never come back. The Quran is a witness to his death, and the fact that he will never return.”

Upon hearing this, the crowd became abusive and declared that there was no doubt left that Sahibzada Abdul Latif was indeed an unbeliever. This episode reminds one of the instance from another era when the chief priests and elders of the Jews had torn their clothes in wrath when they heard what Jesus had to say. The verdict of disbelief (aka kufr ka fatwa) was drafted in a state of great anger, and after that, Sahibzada Abdul Latif was sent back to the prison in the same fettered state. I forgot to mention earlier that eight men with drawn swords stood confronting Sahibzada Abdul Latif throughout the debate with the clerics.

The verdict of disbelief was sent to the King at night, but in a clever strategy, the record of the debate was intentionally withheld, and nor was it divulged to the public. This was a clear proof that the opposing clerics had no rebuttal to the arguments presented by Sahibzada Abdul Latif. 

Woe to the King who passed his judgment based on the verdict of disbelief and did not even ask to see the record of the debate. In actual fact, he should have been present at the debate, out of the fear of the Real Judge to whom he would soon return, leaving behind all his wealth and kingship. The dictates of compassion required him to be present, regardless ofwhat it took, since he knew that the life of an innocent person hinged on the outcome of the debate.

In addition, jailing Sahibzada Abdul Latif without proof, restraining him with chains and handcuffs, and attempting to intimidate him with the drawn swords of eight soldiers were clearly attempts to prevent him, through torture and fear, from producing evidence in his support, and such duress should never have been permitted. If the King failed to do this, it was his duty to have demanded to see the records of thedebate, in order to pass a just verdict. In fact, he should have issued instructions prior to the debate that all the papers be sent to him…

After the verdict of disbelief had been given, Sahibzada Abdul Latif was sent back to prison. On Saturday morning, he was summoned to the special court of the King, where a large audience was present. 

When the King came out of the fort, Sahibzada Abdul Latif was sitting at a place on his way. He stopped by him and enquired, “Sahibzada Sahib, what was the verdict?” Sahibzada Abdul Latif did not reply because he knew that these people were bent upon being tyrannical, but one of the guards with him said, “He was reproached,” i.e., a verdict of disbelief was given. The King then went to his assembled court, and as soon as he sat down, he asked for Sahibzada Sahib to be called, and told him:

The verdict of disbelief has been given. Now say, what will it be? Will you repent or accept punishment?

In no uncertain terms, he replied:

I cannot repent from the truth. Should I accept falsehood out of fear for my life? I cannot do this.

The King again asked him to repent, and assured him of an honorable acquittal. But Sahibzada Abdul Latif forcefully rejected the suggestion, and said, “Do not expect from me that I will desist from the truth.” … He firmly kept on rejecting every admonition; he had decided that it was necessary for him to give his life in this cause. 

He also said that, “After my killing, I will come alive after six days.” This writer says that this statement must have been made on the basis of a revelation received by him at that moment because by that time Sahibzada Abdul Latif had joined those whose earthly connections are severed and the angels were greeting him. 

Hazrat Mirza continues:

He received this information from the angels and made this statement, and the meaning of this statement is that the life that is granted to saints and religious people would be given to him by the sixth day, and before the Lord’s day arrives, i.e., the seventh day, he would be alive. It must be remembered that saints and those special people who are slain in the way of Allah are given life after a few days.

As Allah says: “And think not of those who are killed in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they are alive…” (3:169).

The remarks of the deceased martyr pointed to this status…

I saw in a vision that a long branch, which was green and beautiful, had been cut from a cypress tree in our orchard. A person was holding this branch and someone said that it should be planted near a previously-cut jujube tree in the land that is adjacent to my house, and it will grow again.

Simultaneously, it was revealed to me: “He was cut off from Kabul and came directly to Us.” I interpret its meaning to be that the blood of the deceased martyr has fallen on this land like a seed which will bear abundant fruit and expand our party manifold. On the one hand, I saw this dream, and on the other, the deceased martyr said that he would be resurrected on the sixth day.

My vision and his statement have essentially the same meaning. By his martyrdom, the deceased has given my followers an example, and indeed my followers were in need of such a grand example.

When Sahibzada Abdul Latif rejected repeated admonitions to repent, the King despaired, and wrote with his own hands a long judgment in which he included the verdict of the clerics and stated in it that the punishment for such a disbeliever is death by stoning.

The judgment was hung from Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s neck, and the King ordered that a hole be bored in his nose, astring put through it, by which he would be drawn to the place of execution. Accordingly, by order of this cruel King, a hole was bored in his nose, a string passed through it causing excruciating pain, and he was led by the string to the place of executionamongst a tumult of abuses, curses, jeers, and jokes.

The King, along with all his courtiers, judges, jurists, and other officers, witnessed this painful scene as they proceeded to the site of execution. Thousands of people from the city, whose exact number is difficult to gauge, turned up to witness this spectacle.

Hazrat Mirza adds:

When they reached the place of execution, Sahibzada Abdul Latif was interred in the ground up to the waist. In this condition, the King went up to him and said: “If you denounce the Qadiani, who has claimed to be the Promised Messiah, I will save you even now. Time has run out on you, and this is the last chance that is being given to you. Have mercy on yourself and your family.”

When even in this critical situation Sahibzada Abdul Latif persisted repeatedly with his reply that he held his faith above his life, the King told the Qazi to cast the first stone because he had given the verdict of disbelief. The Qazi said: “You are the ruler; you throw the first stone.” The King replied: “You are the king of Islamic law, and it is your verdict; I have nothing to do with it.

The Qazi then got down from his horse, and threw a stone, which gave Sahibzada Abdul Latif a fatal wound, and his head dropped forward. After that, the unfortunate King threw a stone, and this was a signal to the public to follow the example of their ruler. Thousands of stones started to rain on him, and there was none in that crowd that did not throw a stone in his direction. The abundance of stones created a mound over the martyr’s head.

At the time of his departure from the site, the King said: “This person had stated that he would come alive on the sixth day; so keep a guard on him for six days.” What cruelty! It has been stated that this cruel act of stoning took place on July 14, 1903.

A major part of this narration has been taken from the statements of witnesses who were opposed to this Movement and evenadmitted to have taken part in the stoning and some of the narration has been taken from the accounts of people who were secretdisciples of the deceased martyr…

The martyrdom destined for Sahibzada Abul Latif has come to pass, but the recompense of the tyrant remains4

…O Abdul Latif, thousands of blessings be upon you that you showed an example of your truthfulness in my life, and as for those members of my Organization who shall survive me, I know not what deeds they will render.

Remaining events regarding Sahibzada Abdul Latif

Hazrat Mirza records the remaining events concerning Sahibzada Abdul Latif towards the end of the book in the following words:

Today, on November 8, 1903, Mian Ahmad Noor, who is one of Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s favorite pupils, arrived in Qadian from Khost along with his family. He narrates that Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s body remained buried for forty days under the mound of stones that had been hurled at him. 

At the end of this period, Mian Ahmad Noor and some of his friends extricated the blessed body during the night and stealthily brought it to the city. There was some apprehension that the King and his minions might pose an obstacle, but a virulent cholera epidemic had broken out in the city and everyone was preoccupied with their own afflictions. This enabled them to performthe last rites and bury the body peacefully in the cemetery. Strangely, when the body of Sahibzada Abdul Latif was taken out of the mound of stones, it gave off the scent of musk—a fact that impressed all observers greatly.

Before this event, when the clerics of Kabul had gathered on the orders of the King to debate Sahibzada Abdul Latif, he had told them: “You have two gods because you fear the King as one should fear God the most High. I have only one God, so I am notafraid of the King.

Once in his own house, long before his arrest or even any suspicion of the forthcoming events, Sahibzada Abdul Latif addressed his hands as follows: “O my hands, will you be able to bear the shackles?

He advised his household: “I am leaving, but let it not be that you take some other path. The faith and belief which I profess should be your faith and belief as well.

While being taken to Kabul after his arrest, he said: “I am the bride-groom of this gathering.

Hazrat Mirza continues:

During the debate with the clerics, he was asked: “What do you have to say about the man from Qadian who claims to be the Promised Messiah?” Sahibzada Abdul Latif replied: “I have observed him and given his actions close attention. There is none like him on this earth, and certainly and without a doubt, he is the Promised Messiah. He is bringing the dead back to life.” The clerics raised a clamor and said: “He is a disbeliever and so are you.”

They threatened him on behalf of the King and said that he would be stoned to death if he did not repent. Sahibzada Abdul Latif understood that he would be killed and he recited thefollowing verse: “Our Lord, make not our hearts to deviate after Thou hast guided us and grant us mercy from Thee; surely Thou art the most liberal Giver” (3:8).

When he was about to be stoned, he recited the following verse: “Thou art my Friend in this world and the Hereafter. Make me die in submission and join me with the righteous” (12:101). After this the stoning started and he was martyred. “Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall return.” (2:156). Early next morning, a virulent cholera epidemic broke out in Kabul. The cholera hit the house of Nasrullah Khan, the real brother of King Habibullah Khan, who was the actual culprit responsible for this bloodshed; he lost his wife and son. About four hundred people died daily, victims of the cholera, and on the night of martyrdom, the sky turned red.

Following Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s martyrdom, his sons too showed great steadfastness and did not deviate from the path of theirfather. Consequently, the King ordered their arrest and exiled them to Turkistan. After some time, the order of exile was amended andthe family was allowed to return to Afghanistan, but they were barred from returning to their ances- tral town of Khost. Two of the five sons of Sahibzada Abdul Latif migrated and settled in Qadian; the other three, along with members of the extended family took upresidence in the area of Bannu.

Martyrdom of Mian Abdur Rahman

Hazrat Mirza also mentions the martyrdom of Mian Abdur Rahman in Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain. Mian Abdur Rahman was one of Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s pupils. Approximately two years before the martyrdom of Sahibzada Abdul Latif, his righteous pupil, Mian Abdur Rahman, visited Qadian two or three times on the suggestion and guidance of his mentor, and on each visit stayed for several months.

The company and teachings of Hazrat Mirza and the influence of his arguments developed in Mian Abdur Rahman the faith of amartyr. On his return to Kabul after his last visit to Qadian, he was declared a disbeliever by the clerics. The ruler of Kabul at that time was Ameer Abdur Rahman, and on his orders, the guiltless Mian Abdur Rahman was strangled to death.

The slaughtering of two goats — fulfillment of a Prophecy

In his book Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain, Hazrat Mirza next discusses at great length the revelations that are stated in the fifth volume (pp. 510, 511) of his work Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. The following is a segment from one of those revelations:

Although people shall not be able to save you from being murdered, God shall save you… Two goats shall be slaughtered, and everyone on it (the earth) passes away.

The implication is that God will certainly save Hazrat Mirza from being killed, but two goats would be slaughtered from his party. In the terminology of the scriptures, the words lamb or goat are frequently used as a metaphor for a guiltless and innocent person. The word cow is also sometimes used in the same sense. The martyrdom of Mian Abdur Rahman and Sahibzada Abdul Latif fulfilled this prophecy with great exactitude.

Alamaat-ul-Muqarrabin (Distinctive Signs of the Godly) – The last part of Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain

Hazrat Mirza wrote the last part of Tazkirat-ul-Shahadatain in Arabic, and titled this last section as Alamaat-ul-Muqarrabin. In this section, Hazrat Mirza describes in great detail the characteristics of those who have achieved nearness to God. The section is replete with great wisdom and truths.

An important and noteworthy affair

In this book, Hazrat Mirza has also appended a notice that was also published separately on October 16, 1903. In this notice, he draws the attention of his party to assist in the upkeep of the school Madrasah Talim-ul-Islam (School of Islamic Education).

Prophecy regarding the advancement of Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement

In this book, Hazrat Mirza states a prophecy regarding Islam and his party which is worthy of perusal. The prophecy is:

God shall bestow on this religion, and this Movement great and extraordinary blessings. He shall thwart those who work for their annihilation. And this dominance shall endure forever, till Judgment Day…

Three centuries from this day would not have passedwhen those who wait for the return of Jesus, be they Muslims or Christians, will be extremely disappointed and disillusioned, and will eschew this false belief. And there shall be only one religion in the world and only one leader. I have come merely to plant a seed, and so my hands have planted that seed. Now it will grow and flower, and there is none who can stop it.

Prophecy regarding the demise of the Hindu Arya Samaj sect

There is a parallel prophecy stated in this book regarding the Arya Samaj (a sect of Hinduism), which is also worthy of perusal:

Do not think that the Aryas, who are the followers of the Hindu Dayanandi religion, have any substance. They are akin to a hornet that has a sting but nothing more than that. They have no knowledge of the Unity (of God), and are completely devoid of spirituality. Their work is to find fault with others, and to vilify the pure prophets of God. Their major accomplishment is the amassing of a reservoir of objections based on their infernal doubts and conjectures. They are devoid of the spirit of righteousness and purity. 

Remember, no religion can make any progress without spirituality; take away spirituality and nothing remains of religion. A religion that is devoid of spirituality, in which there is no communion with God, which does not have the spirit of truth and purity, which possesses no heavenly attraction, and which does not have the ability to bring about extraordinary transformation within people, is a dead religion — do not be afraid of it. Myriads of you would still be alive to see this religion perish. This will happenbecause the Arya Samaj religion is a product of this earth and not of the heavens. It presents affairs related to the earth and not the heavens.

APPENDIX

(Details of Footnote 4)

The recompense of the tyrants was such that it would forever be considered exemplary. King Habibullah Khan who ordered the stoning to death was murdered as a result of a plot by his brother Nasrullah Khan.

After this, Nasrullah Khan, who was the main instigator behind the murder of Sahibzada Abdul Latif, was imprisoned and, subsequently murdered there. The arbitrator of the debate, the Punjabi doctor, Abdul Ghani, who was an opponent and whose mischief had played a big role in the final outcome, was arrested and imprisoned for his part in a conspiracy to overthrow the government of Kabul. He had to bear the torment of prison for a long time; finally he managed to escape and reached British India in a state of ruin. The Islamist judges and clerics who had stoned Sahibzada Abdul Latif also met an exemplary punishment, and were ruined and destroyed during the political turmoil that followed the death of Habibullah Khan. But this was not the end of the recompense. Hazrat Mirza has written in this book Tazkirat-ul- Shahadatain:

The land of Kabul shall witness the bitter fruits that this murder shall bear. This slaughter shall not go unavenged. Prior to this, poor Abdur Rahman of my party was cruelly killed, and God remained silent. But He will not remain silent on this murder andthe consequences that will accrue will be enormous. Accordingly, it has been reported that in the days when the deceased martyr was killed by stoning, a virulent cholera epidemic broke out in Kabul and many important people of the kingdom fell prey to it. Some relatives and friends of the King also lost their lives. This is only the beginning, because this murder has been committed most mercilessly, the like of which cannot be found in these times.

Alas! This foolish King has destroyed himself by murdering such an innocent person with unusual cruelty. O land of Kabul, remain a witness that on you this heinous crime was committed. O unlucky land, you have fallen in the eyes of God because you are the venue of this extreme cruelty. In recompense for this murder, the destruction and devastation that visited the land of Kabul was horrifying.

After Habibullah Khan was murdered, his son Amanullah Khan ascended the throne. He tried to pursue a policy designed to rid Afghanistan of British influence. The British did not like this and instigated Bacha-e-Sakka to revolt against Amanullah Khan. The manner in which the family of the murdered Habibullah Khan was ravaged and desecrated by Bacha-e-Sakka is shocking. AmanullahKhan, the son of Habibullah Khan, his wife and family had to flee the country into exile.

The throne passed from his family to another family. In the fighting that ensued upon the revolt of Bacha-e-Sakka, thousands of people died. The destruction and punishment that descended on Kabul and its environs did not abate until about eighty-five thousand people were killed in accordance with the revelation of Hazrat Mirza, “About eighty-five thousand people will die in the Kingdom of Kabul.” Bacha-e-Sakka came like an avenging angel of punishment and departed only after he had, in the words of the Quran “subjected you to a severe torment.” (7:141)

Footnotes

  1. A disciple of Sahibzada Abdul Latif told me (the author) that after reading the books written by Hazrat Mirza, Sahibzada Abdul Latif remarked: “I had already been informed in a vision that a grand mujaddid (reformer) was about to appear in the present time and, at times, I suspected that I may be that person. However, when I read the books of Hazrat Mirza, my heart instantly bore testimony that this was the person for whose appearance all the preparations were afoot in the spiritual world. On reading the books with greater attention, the truth manifested itself completely.”
  2. Hazrat Mirza has written towards the end of this book: “Mian Ahmad Noor states that Sahibzada Abdul Latif stayed in prison for a month and a half. Earlier I have written that he stayed in prison for four months. There is some contradiction here in the versions of the narrators. But all the narrators agreeabout the actual event.”
  3. The king of Afghanistan is known as the Ameer. At the time, Habibullah Khan was the King of Afghanistan.
  4. Hazrat Mirza has written towards the end of this book: “Mian Ahmad Noor states that Sahibzada Abdul Latif stayed in prison for a month and a half. Earlier I have written that he stayed in prison for four months. There is some contradiction here in the versions of the narrators. But all the narrators agreeabout the actual event.”
  5. The recompense of the tyrants was exemplary. For details see appendix to this chapter.

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