Before he died, Imam Bashir Rafiq sahib, formerly the Imam of the London Mosque, wrote a message of guidance to his children. This message contains deep wisdom and pertinent advice, and thus has been republished with permission from his son on Student Review for the benefit of all readers.
My dear All! Please read this carefully. Do not delete it or leave it to be read at a later stage.
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
A Word of Advice to My Children
I embarked on the vessel of my life on 12th September 1931. Having made stops at 81 stages the boat is now sailing towards the final destination of the worldly life and that cannot be too distant. The last stage will be in the ‘Hereafter’. During the last 81 years my vessel has been through some huge and some small whirlpools and it was pounded a great deal. On occasion, the boat had to face gale-force winds and storms. On two occasions, the hurricanes were so ruthless that the vessel of my life nearly went under. These two deadly spiritual ordeals turned my life upside down. Had the Divine hand not helped me I wonder what would have happened? However, by the sheer Mercy and Grace of Allah, in spite of apparent deadly trials, I emerged relatively unscathed. Alhamdulillah.
At every step of the way, I have seen the Divine hand of help over my head and I have full faith and confidence in it. In the Holy Quran the Almighty has said:
“I am near and I hear the suplications of my servants and accept them. I am close to My servants. I hear their cries and respond.” [2:187]
On very many occasions, I have witnessed this fact i.e. My Maker is nearest to me.
Some time ago, I read the autobiography of Sardar Kushwant Singh. He writes that ‘many say that God is omnipresent but I have never felt that way’. I was very greatly surprised that such an extremely eminent and famous writer, journalist, intellectual and well versed person should be ignorant of this fact. Even a feeble, humble and ignorant person like me has witnessed and experienced at every step that God is always present, He is closer to us than our jugular vein, He speaks and He responds. When we are downcast, He raises our spirits. The doorway to His treasury is always wide open for those who solicit. The only condition is that one should ask.
I often wonder how one can be content after severing one’s relationship with Him. His denial turns one into a coward. All kinds of superstitions surround him who denies the existence of God. He or she goes astray and is engulfed by darkness. He/she becomes a slave of the worldly means whereas those who hold His or her hand spend their days in complete contentment. Therefore, I advise my children never to drift away from His door. Always ask only of Him as everything belongs to Him and there is no dearth of any kind in His treasury. He will never let you down, as I have never been disillusioned. I swear by Allah that whenever I have begged of Him, He has given me plenty and He has never disappointed me. There has never been a need which, out of His Mercy and Grace, He has not fulfilled. If I begin to write in detail of His Blessings, many books will get filled. He loves us more than our parents do and His gifts far exceed those of all the kings put together. Never ever abandon His door, quite regardless of the measure of sacrifice needed.
Prostrate only before Him. A single prostration before Him will save you from bowing before so many ungodly powers. Ask of Him alone as He has what no one else has. Be His and His alone. May the dazzling affluence of the world not detract you from Him. Once He becomes yours, everything becomes yours.
The essence of my long life is that supplications lead to Him. Prayers contain enormous power. I have been deeply fond of prayers ever since my childhood. I was perhaps 12 years old and only a student of the Eighth Grade when, in the evenings, I would walk towards the River Kabul that flowed close to the village. I really enjoyed supplicating even then. In those early days, I had hardly any experience of acceptance of Prayers however I was very fond of Praying. By His Grace that habit of praying bore fruit. Throughout my life I have been engaged in and took pleasure in prayers. I have so often witnessed the manifestation of acceptance of prayers. As a result, my life has been full of joy and contentment. Prayers grant one potency equal to those of mountains. It provides serenity to the heart and strengthens it. In the midst of an ocean of grief, problems and worries it conveys you to your port of destination like a safe boat. A life without prayers is meaningless.
Be His and His alone … Once He becomes yours, everything becomes yours.
I advise my children to make prayers their strong citadel and derive strength and security from it. Never be neglectful of prayers. You will see that as you become engaged in prayers you will find that at every step your life has become blissful and peaceful. Normally before supplicating, I invoke Durood on the Holy Prophet PBUH. Then I pray for the Promised Messiah PBUH, his successors and his progeny. Then I pray for my parents and grandparents on both sides and then for their ancestors who are no longer with us. I pray for my mother’s brothers, their spouses, my mother’s sisters and their spouses and their children. I also pray for my teachers. Then I pray for my wife and my children that Allah may make them true servants of Islam and bestow upon them fondness for prayers. Then I pray for the progress of Ahmadiyyat the true Islam. Then I pray for such dear friends as are still alive and I also pray for those who, having formed a favourable impression of me, ask me to pray for them. I pray for my brother, his wife and their children. I pray for my sisters, their spouses and their children.
Over and above these, I offer many prayers with great regularity. I advise my children that, in this age, the Almighty has made the Jamaat, established by the Promised Messiah a safe haven and strong fortress to seek refuge from worldly trials and tribulations. Make sure that you remain within the four walls of this fortress. Never, even for a single moment, should your contact with the Jamaat be cut off. Always strengthen your relationship with the institution of Khilafat and make your best endeavours to develop a close relationship with the Khalifa of the time. There is nothing outside the Jamaat Ahmadiyya but trepidation. This is a great bounty from the Almighty that has been bestowed on us through the Promised Messiah. Always cherish it as a great treasure and if need be lay down your life without the slightest hesitation.
In the Holy Quran, the Almighty says that ‘If you appreciate My gifts, I will continue to enlarge them and if you are ungrateful, my torment will be severe.’
Make this teaching of the Holy Quran a beacon for your life. There are hundreds of thousands of His gifts. In order to show gratitude and thankfulness for those gifts, you must, without the slightest hesitation, surrender any of them whenever demanded. Never show niggardliness in this.
I also advise you always to strictly stick to absolute truth and never ever come within the reach of falsehood. Falsehood is an ugly blemish on one’s character; a blemish that stinks to the extent that others move away from you. Truth is a fragrance. It makes one courageous and saves one from every kind of fear. Telling a lie to gain some insignificant profit does not ever result in a real gain. In the sight of Allah a liar is an accursed one. May Allah make you a standard-bearer of the truth. May your life always be wrapped in the raiment of truth. Amen.
In the end, I beg all of you to pray for Salima Naheed and me. May Allah be pleased with us and may our end be good. May He take us away from this world when He is pleased with us and we are pleased with Him.
Ameen. جزاكاللهُ خيراً
B A Rafiq’