The Great Reformer (Vol. 2) [‘Mujaddid-e-Azam’]
Biography of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
by Dr. Basharat Ahmad
Translated by Akram Ahmad
Chapter 74: Love of Simplicity was in Hazrat Mirza’s Nature
Hazrat Mirza loved Simplicity:
Hazrat Mirza lived his life with great simplicity. He often used to say,
“I love those people greatly who lead their lives with simplicity.”
Simplicity of his House:
The simplicity of Hazrat Mirza’s dress and diet has already been mentioned. His house too was very simple. In the section of the house where he resided, there was no furniture except for the beds on which the family slept. There were no tables or chairs and no carpets or rugs. Hazrat Mirza was engaged day and night in writing and compiling religious tracts and he wrote thousands of pages of profound literature by sitting and writing on his bed with the ink, pens and paper by his side on the bed. Maulvi Abdul Karim recorded the following observation in this connection:
“Hazrat Mirza is completely oblivious and indifferent to the ornamentation and embellishment of his dress and his house. By the Grace of God, the status and rank of Hazrat Mirza is such that if he wanted, the bricks of his house could be of marble and his doormats of silk.
“But the place where he sits is so ordinary that one given to worldly elegance and fussy about cleanliness would not like to sit there for a moment. I have observed on many occasions the wooden bench on which Hazrat Mirza sits outside on summer evenings. Even if it is dusty and needs cleaning, he does not comment on it. If somebody has dusted it, he does not comment that it is spotlessly clean either — in short, he is so immersed in his work that he does not care for such mundane matters.
“When the need arose to construct a guesthouse, Hazrat Mirza repeatedly gave instructions that it is futile to spend money on bricks and stones; he said, ‘Do only what is needed so that there is a place to stay for two or three days.’
“A carpenter was rasping the wooden beams and boards. Hazrat Mirza asked him to stop and said: ‘This is just ornamental and an unjust use of time; shorten your work. Allah knows that I don’t harbor any desire for these worldly lodgings. I consider my house as common between my disciples and myself, and I earnestly wish that we should share these lodgings for the few days that we have in this world. It is one of my profound wishes that I should have a house that is surrounded by the houses of our friends; a window should open from every facade of my lodging into each of these houses, so that thereby we are constantly in touch.’
“Brothers, these are true facts; events are witness to their accuracy. Every section of Hazrat Mirza’s house is packed with guests – downstairs and upstairs – like a boat. Hazrat Mirza has received a proportionate, nay only a small portion, of his house for personal living. He lives in it like a traveler who puts up in a room at an inn and never thinks that the room in which he is staying is his.” (Sirat Masih Mauoud)
Maulvi Abdul Karim’s narration is an accurate picture of those days. As long as there was room in Hazrat Mirza’s house, he allocated a section of it to anyone who migrated to Qadian. Although Maulana Nur-ud-Din had constructed a separate house for himself, but during the outbreak of the plague, Hazrat Mirza gave him a portion of his house to live in because God had promised through a revelation to protect Hazrat Mirza’s house from the plague. In summary, the house was packed like a ship.
Each family had a room in which they cooked, dined, slept and lived their life. Hazrat Mirza too had one room for himself and his family. But it never crossed his mind that being the owner of such a large house why was he subjecting himself to this hardship of cramped quarters. Like a mother who feels happy and satisfied by placing her children on her lap, Hazrat Mirza was delighted by giving his disciples a place in his house. On top of this, he then took every care to provide for their comfort. The house seemed to be especially blessed because it just kept accommodating more and more families. The reason was that when Hazrat Mirza accommodated a new family, he would shrink his own requirements and somehow find a room for the new family to move in.
In 1906, I came to Qadian with my family after taking a long leave from my job. Initially, I was graciously given the house of Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan to live in as it happened to be vacant at that time.
Later, when Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan himself expressed his intention of coming to Qadian, Hazrat Mirza allocated a large room in the first floor of his house for my use.
Upon taking up residence there, I noticed two strange things. Although there were so many disparate families residing in the house, its architectural plan was such that the privacy of the families was not compromised and this created a feeling of seclusion. At some locations in the courtyard, temporary barriers made of cloth had been erected.
However, most importantly, the spirit of righteousness and piety was so strong that there were no complaints. Everyone was so immersed at their own stations in the love of God and the performance of religious works, that no one even noticed what conversation was going on in an adjacent room, or what their neighbors were doing.
The other thing I noticed was that the influence of Hazrat Mirza’s company was so profound that — by the Grace of God — everyone was happy and contented; no grudges of any kind were to be found there. In fact, nobody even noticed the cramped nature of the quarters in which they were dwelling. The peace and contentment that shone upon the countenance of every resident was such that an onlooker would surely have surmised that each lived in a palace with a garden in the back.