Anecdotes from the Life of the Promised Messiah [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian]
Simplicity of Manners
by Mirza Masud Beg, M.A.
The Young Islam, 15th August 1934 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 6, pp. 1, 4)
The one great point of contrast between false dignitaries, pirs [religious guides], mullahs [clerics] and priests, and men truly inspired by God is that whereas the former try to display their pomp and show, establish their greatness by false dignity and spurious piety, the men of God are simple, frank and undisguised. The men of God do not believe in artificialities and deal with men as a man would do. And such was the life lead by our revered Imam—the Promised Messiah [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian].
While sitting in the mosque adjacent to his house, the Masjid-i-Mubarik, he would quietly take his seat in one of its corners without assigning himself a seat of position and distinction. Maulana Abdul Karim [of Sialkot], who used to lead the prayers, would generally take his seat in the niche of the mosque, and whenever a newcomer came to visit the Imam, he would at once go straight to Maulana Abdul Karim to greet him first, thinking that he was the Promised Messiah. But when he was told that the leader of the assembly was sitting in the corner of the mosque, the man was simply amazed.
In September 1895, the Promised Messiah went to Dera Baba Nanak to see the Chola Sahib (Guru Nanak’s cloak). A number of his friends and disciples accompanied him. Wherever the party stopped, the people of the neighbouring villages flocked to see and greet the Promised Messiah. But the man was so simple and undistinguishable that everybody who came first went straight to Maulana Muhammad Ahsan Sahib [of Amroha], who bore the appearance of a learned man and a big maulvi, and then he was directed to the Promised Messiah.
While going out for a walk the Promised Messiah would move in the company of his disciples just as a friend and associate would do without observing any formality. It often happened that the disciples were walking ahead and the leader was following behind, but he would not mind such trifles.
While sitting together, the murids [followers] would often occupy a high and raised place and the murshid [guide] would sit in a lower place without caring the least.
Once during these walks, the Promised Messiah wished to sit somewhere to take a little rest. One of his followers at once spread a piece of cloth for him, upon which he sat. Soon after a follower of his came and the Promised Messiah moved a little and made him sit beside him. A minute later, another friend came and he again moved a little to make him sit on the cloth. Every time that a disciple of his came, the Promised Messiah moved a little, and after a few minutes it so happened that the disciples were all sitting on the piece of cloth and the Imam was sitting on the bare ground.
The Imam-i-Zaman [Reformer of the Age] lead a very simple life. And as far as his own self was concerned, his simplicity had reached to the extent of unmindfulness. He used to wear a very simple and old-fashioned dress, and was so unmindful about it that he would not know how to button his coat or waistcoat even. Often it was seen that he had fastened the upper button of his coat or waistcoat to the lower hole, thus giving a strange shape to his dress.
While putting on his shoes, he would not know which of the pair of shoes was to be put on in the right foot and which in the left. So he always used country-made simple shoes. Once a friend of his brought a pair of English shoes for him. The Promised Messiah thankfully accepted the present. But when he put on the shoes and tried to walk a little his feet bent and he was about to tumble down. On enquiring from his friend for the [reason of the] accident, he was told that he had not put on the shoes properly—putting the right foot in the left shoe. The Promised Messiah smiled and said that he never knew of it before. He again thanked his friend but said that he was unable to use those shoes, for it was not possible for him every time to sit and see how to put them on and which foot to place in which of the shoes. Such was the simple life lead by the Promised Messiah—peace he upon him.