Asif M Basit
Jolyn Martyn Clark’s mulaqat with Huzooraa
Jolyn Martyn Clark was stunned having heard the entire story. Over a century had passed and for someone to come looking for him in relation to this debate was something beyond his imagination. (It was as unimaginable for him as it was for me.) He met us warm-heartedly and lovingly.
Once he found out that the great-grandson of the individual with whom the debate took place was now his successor and Khalifa, he desired to meet him in London.
I personally witnessed the awe he was in and the humility and love expressed by Jolyn when meeting Huzooraa and I can honestly say that it was the very same humility I have seen in servants of Khilafat during mulaqats. Even after the mulaqat had finished, he would express his sentiments and would say that his great grandfather’s name was not remembered anymore, however it was as if the individual with whom the debate took place was alive today with great glory and prestige. This honour was destined to be given to the Promised Messiahas.
He said that although he did not have sufficient knowledge to study the happenings of the debate, what he witnessed was enough for him to make a decision.
Searching for Colonel Douglas’ grandson
The same happened when we set off in search for Col Douglas’ progeny. In a false case, accusing the Promised Messiahas of murder, Henry Martyn Clark attempted to tarnish the character of Hazrat Ahmadas. But only that occurred which Allah the Almighty had informed Huzooras of and that was utter humiliation destined for Martyn Clark. The details of this incident are as follows:
Henry Martyn Clark prepared a half-mad individual to accuse the Promised Messiahas of sending him to Amritsar where Henry Martyn Clark resided, with the intent of murdering him. He was made to memorise what to say and when to say it during the trial. The trial was handed to Captain Montague William Douglas, who would act as the judge. Having heard the baseless allegations they had to put forward, he came to a decision.
Furthermore, according to the recorded statements of Douglas, he said that having seen the face of the Promised Messiahas, he was certain that his was the face of an innocent and pious man.
Many years later, when he had retired from the Indian Civil Service, he returned to London and kept a pleasant relationship with the Jamaat there. He attended various functions of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, in which he would describe the events when he got to see the Promised Messiahas and how he experienced the divine light from his noble countenance.
The wisdom behind attempting to find Colonel Douglas’ progeny was that if he was able to acknowledge the unique and spiritual qualities of the Promised Messiahas, then his progeny should also become re-acquainted with the spirituality and divine radiance in the person of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
I presented the matter to Huzooraa for permission and guidance. Without any hesitation Huzoor granted permission and gave guidance. Huzoor said, “He must be here in London somewhere. It’s just a matter of finding him.”
This sentence became my guiding light. Among the millions of people residing in London, was a resident who would be introduced to us as the progeny of Captain Douglas. And indeed, they must be, because Huzooraa had said so. Thus, the search commenced.
A tedious journey
I adopted the same route of looking for his death certificate, will and inheritance papers. Thus, I found many avenues to explore and began thinking to myself that it may, after all, be an easy route. But Allah wanted to remind me that nothing was in my power and that it was only through the grace of God and Huzoor’s prayer by which it could happen.
I explored every avenue, but they all brought me to dead ends. At times, there were paths which seemed so obvious that they would bring me closer to where I needed to look, but somewhere along the line it would fade away. I faced utter failure and disappointment. I even acquired the address to his residence, but there was nothing there. There seemed to be no further paths to take. Whatever was possible, I had already done.
Now, the problem for me was how to explain this to Huzooraa. How disappointing it would be to hear about this let-down. With Huzoor’s graciousness, so many man-hours were spent in search of Douglas’ progeny, but I was unable to bring anything back other than shame.
Nevertheless, I decided to present it to Huzooraa one day and said that I had tried everything possible, yet I was incapable of finding Douglas’ progeny. Huzooraa replied:
“If you can’t find them, then so what? You will find them eventually. You should have searched properly. Where else will they go?”
After that, the matter somewhat came to a close there. I left Huzoor’s office, but was anxious. I should have tried harder. Maybe it was something I did at the beginning that caused the entire search to drift away from the right direction. I resolved in my heart to put everything I had already done aside and start the search afresh.
Later on, I came across a village where his daughter had resided for some time. The evidence showed that she used to teach in that area. I decided to go there and find out more about her. Even if she was not there, the locals would at least be able to tell me something about her. But, as mentioned above, the locals were not able to tell me anything.
Then I remembered that Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib once mentioned that when he was here in 1952 and 1953, Col Douglas had passed away in London. His son-in-law informed the Jamaat at the time and invited representatives to the funeral, among whom were Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh and Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib.
Mir Sahib could not recall where the funeral took place, but remembered that his son-in-law was about to move to South Africa.
How right was Huzooraa! I wasn’t looking in the right places! The clues were elsewhere, while I focused on their personal documents and papers.
I began looking at the South African records and the lists of travellers there. Now that I had some sense of direction, more promising avenues began unfolding. I found the details for Col Douglas’ son-in-law and daughter and also their children’s details. And once again, I got the opportunity to see the prophetic words of Huzooraa come to fruition.
Huzooraa said, “They must be here in London somewhere”, and indeed they were. Among the millions of residents of London was a man who I came to know as the grandson of Col Montague William Douglas.
Initially, I was apprehensive about meeting him. But when he opened up with me after the first three or four sittings, I truly got to know him. Everything I told him was something new for him. He would sit there smiling and laughing as I narrated the incidents of over a hundred years ago.
However, something puzzled me; the progeny of the opponents of the Promised Messiahas lived in seemingly good conditions despite their disproving their forefathers’ actions, but here was a man belonging to the progeny of a deep admirer of the Promised Messiahas, whose life was on the verge of being turned upside down. His young wife had just divorced him and due to the divorce, his household was brought to shatters. He decided to put his house up for sale. He suffered anxiety on the part of his children and the illnesses he suffered from rendered him incapable of work. Thus, Col Douglas’ grandson’s life was in tatters.
On the other hand, however, he became curious about Huzooraa and desired to meet him. He was so enthusiastic to meet Huzooraa that he would often say to take him anytime and to take him quickly. I humbly requested Huzooraa and Huzooraa graciously accepted to meet him. Just like his grandfather, he too was able to acknowledge the nur, love and tranquillity that resonated from the personality of Huzooraa.
In just one private audience, he became an admirer of Huzooraa, so much so that today, he constantly enquires about the health and well-being of Huzooraa and requests him for prayers. I always make it a point to convey those requests for prayers as they are the property of Huzooraa. Huzooraa graciously responds in prayers for him, which I always convey to Christopher Douglas as they are his property.
One day, he expressed his gratefulness by saying that due to his frail health, his frustration would increase, but once he heard Huzoor’saa words of prayers, it would bring him great comfort and warmth. I have the good fortune of passing the requests for prayers and the prayers back and forth. It has been approximately eight years since it all began.
One day, I asked him, “You say that you are not a man of religious inclination, but how do you reconcile these requests for prayers and the comfort you receive from them?” I began to see his emotions in his expression.
He replied, “All my life, I have neither remembered God, nor have I ever felt His need. I lived a very irreligious and carefree lifestyle. I never felt the urge to ponder over the existence of God, but now I’m beginning to feel certain about His existence. I came across His Holiness at a time when I had nobody to ask about me. Due to my carefree lifestyle, all my friends turned out to be superficial and temporary and my wife also left me. The children are either with their mother or they are self-sufficient and have no time for me. Also, my failing health and illness has taken over everything. In this backdrop, you came and found me. I then met His Holiness. I can’t call this a coincidence. Consider me a part of your community.”
I conveyed this message to Huzooraa. Huzooraa very lovingly enquired about his health. Not only did his grandfather, Captain Douglas, acquit the Promised Messiahas of the accusations against him, but he also became a deep admirer of Huzooras.
If the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is appreciative and grateful for Captain Douglas’ integrity, justice and decent nature, then the leader of this Jamaat, Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa, naturally must be even more so.
Huzooraa has treated the grandson of that grand individual with great love and continues to do so. In the name of the great favour of his grandfather, Huzooraa has returned the favour in ways that cannot be described at present as it may not be timely.
I can only say that Douglas’ grandson’s life has changed drastically since the day he met Huzooraa. Allah has granted him a beacon of guidance and a ray of hope and has placed such love in Huzoor’s heart for him that his every passing day and night is now the recipient of Huzoor’s loving affection. To cure a person of an illness is only in the hand of Allah, but if certain personal problems are alleviated, then it becomes easier to treat the illness. Although he is extremely poorly, he is living in great comfort.
I am in contact with him on a regular basis and he too contacts me regularly. Whilst writing this article, I thought I should contact him and so I asked how he was. After informing me of his health he asked, “Enough about me, how is His Holiness?” After I replied, he told me to convey his greetings to Huzooraa and to request for prayers. I promised that I would. He became very emotional over the phone. After we said goodbye, he texted me on my phone and said, “I have no friends. Extend my greetings to His Holiness and request for prayers.”
It is best to leave this incident without comments. As I approach the end of this article, it is best to say that no endeavour can bear fruits until and unless it includes the prayers of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa. Whether it is the field of research, education, spiritual pursuits or domestic matters, until the Khalifa’s prayers and attention are not in favour of that matter, it is impossible for one to be successful.
Another thing we should remember is that no matter how ordinary something said by Huzooraa seems, such a remark should never be considered “ordinary”. Every word Huzooraa utters bears in it the wisdom and farsightedness that causes angles to descend upon us and convert that statement into a reality.
May Allah give us the capacity and potential to truly understand the status of Khilafat and to understand every word of Huzoor’saa to be our lifeline.