The Martyrdom of Sahibzada Abdul Latif Shaheed

by Prof. Khalil-ur-Rahman

Arrest

Arrest, as Narrated by Close Sources:

Sources close to Sahibzada Sahib narrate that when he reached his village Syedgah, the people enquired with great eagerness about the Promised Messiah. He replied:

“The Promised Messiah is a great spiritual personality of the highest order. Previously, I had this notion about myself that I had received some part from the knowledge of God, but when I saw the Promised Messiah, I realised that the knowledge he had received was boundless. I am even unable to fathom his nearness to God and what his spiritual status is.”

Just two or three days after reaching Syedgah, Hazrat Sahibzada started propagating Ahmadiyyat vigorously. Night and day, sitting and standing, he was engaged in this task. The result of this vigorous propagation was that the people became receptive to the idea of accepting Ahmadiyyat. They started coming to Syedgah in large numbers to listen to his sermons. After hearing his arguments, based on the truth, they became Ahmadis without any reservation. The province of Khost and its surrounding areas in Afghanistan are inhabited by four large tribes which are Mengal, Judran, Ghiljai and Tani. Of these, the Tani were living in the area around Syedgah, and a majority of them accepted Ahmadiyyat.

As the news spread about the propagation of Ahmadiyyat and its acceptance by the masses, the mullahs [religious clerics] of Afghanistan felt unnecessarily anxious. They began to poison the ears of the Ameer against Hazrat Sahibzada, and told him that a man, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, from Punjab had claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Hazrat Sahibzada was propagating his beliefs. Influenced by the incorrect reporting of the mullahs, Ameer Habibullah summoned Hazrat Sahibzada to his court. He said that he had no objection to his Ahmadi faith and anything he did in the privacy of his home, but admonished him to stop preaching to the masses publicly in mosques. Hazrat Sahibzada replied,

“I cannot stop preaching the truth, even if I have to make the supreme sacrifice for it.”

Accordingly, Hazrat Sahibzada kept up his propagation activity in the usual manner.

Soon after, one day, as he sat with his companions in his guest house, Hazrat Sahibzada remarked to them,

“I am a guest for a few days only. I am seeing myself wrapped in a shroud and my bier going forever from this house. Look upon me keenly.”

His family was greatly upset by such talk. He also added,

“Martyrdom can be had at any time, but I want to achieve it while eating pillao1.”

By these words, he probably meant that he wanted to present his life to the Lord, not in a state of destitution, but while in ease and luxury, the kind of state in which the materialistic persons of this world cling desperately to life.

Under the pressure and insistence of the mullahs, Ameer Habibullah felt that his power was threatened and so, one day, he issued orders for Hazrat Sahibzada’s arrest and sent a detachment of sixty horsemen to Syedgah, under a Shia commander to execute the order. The Commander presented the Ameer’s order of arrest to Hazrat Sahibzada. Hazrat Sahibzada asked for permission to go inside his house to meet his family before departing, but permission was denied. Hazrat Sahibzada asked his oldest son to fetch his Quran and staff from the house. He then accompanied the detachment towards his destiny. Nobody from his family knew at the time that he was departing from them forever to go to the court of his real Master.

The Ameer had given orders to the Commander of the detachment to bring back Hazrat Sahibzada under close scrutiny and not to offer him any privileges. Accordingly, Hazrat Sahibzada was taken away on foot from his village. However, when the Shia Commander learnt that Hazrat Sahibzada was a Syed2, a very learned and pious person, he was greatly impressed and treated him with great respect and reverence. Wherever they camped for the night, the Commander was solicitous about the comforts of Hazrat Sahibzada.

Several times the Commander tried to convince him to flee to British India and said that he was willing to accept the harshest punishment to save the life of Hazrat Sahibzada. He pleaded with Hazrat Sahibzada and said,

“I do not care for myself if I can save your life,”

but he always received the same answer.

“I am willing to sacrifice my life for the truth and cannot even conceive of fleeing to save my life. I am accompanying you out of my own volition and desire. Otherwise, you would be unable to take me forcefully. You can test this if you don’t believe me.”

The Commander narrated that:

“Once, Hazrat Sahibzada asked us to encircle him tightly in a ring of soldiers. We continued on our journey, with Hazrat Sahibzada walking in the middle of this ring. To our great astonishment, we found that he had managed to get out of the ring of soldiers and disappeared. We were greatly perturbed, but after a little while we heard a faint voice from a great distance, and were reassured. We apologised profusely to him and again requested him to cross the border because we were convinced of his great spiritual status and did not want anybody to hurt him in any way. His reply was the same: turning your back on the path of truth is an act of cowardice.”

Finally, the journey of 250 miles from Syedgah was over and Hazrat Sahibzada, in protective custody, reached Kabul to keep his date with destiny.

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Footnotes:

  1. A dish of rice and meat traditionally served at feasts.
  2. Syeds trace their genealogy to the family of the Holy Prophet.

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