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May 5th, 2008

Indonesia’s first President’s respect for Ahmadiyya missionary

Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig was a missionary sent by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha`at Islam Lahore to Java in 1924 to counteract Christian missionary activities against Muslims. He stayed there till 1937. As a result of his highly successful work, Muslims of that country rose out of their slump and despondency and were able to counter the attacks of the Christian missionaries. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement expanded in large numbers, the Holy Quran and other essential literature of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman was translated into Dutch, and a strong, magnificent Jama‘at was established.

In this connection, Dr Hamid Rahman, a learned member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in the USA, has recently sent me a brief account that Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig related to him in the 1960s, showing the high respect in which he was held by President Sukarno (d. 1970), the famous figure who became the first President of Indonesia in 1945, and was President till 1967.

I quote Dr Hamid Rahman below:

This incident was narrated to me by Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig sahib in 1969 or thereabouts when I was taking lessons from Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig sahib in German in Karachi.

Actually there were two incidents.

1. Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig sahib had come to know Sukarno well during the time he was our missionary in Indonesia. Sukarno was at the time leading the fight for independence in Indonesia against the Dutch, and Sukarno had received some lessons from Mirza Baig sahib in Islam. He therefore looked upon him as his teacher.

Immediately after partition, Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig sahib got stranded in India. He wanted to come to Pakistan but it was impossible to get a visa to Pakistan because of all the bad blood between India and Pakistan. The Pakistan High Commission had turned his visa application down several times. Just when all of Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig’s attempts at getting the visa had been frustrated, Sukarno, now as the President of Indonesia and a close friend of Nehru in the nonaligned movement, came for a visit to India. Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig sahib learnt that Sukarno was going to say his Friday prayer in Jamia Masjid Delhi. So he went and waited for him on the steps of the Jamia Masjid. When Sukarno arrived with his entourage, Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig was able to catch his attention; no doubt a voice from the onlooking crowd beckoning to him in Indonesian must have been the reason. But Sukarno recognized him immediately and came over to talk to him. Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig asked for his help to get him a visa to go to Pakistan. Sukarno immediately issued instructions to his embassy staff to take up the matter immediately with the Pakistan High Commission and to see to it that his teacher got a visa. The visa was given to Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig sahib and he came to Pakistan.

2. Much later during the administration of Ayub Khan and I think it may have been soon after the 1965 war when Indonesia sent its submarines to guard the coast of Pakistan to prevent a surprise attack by India from the sea, Sukarno came to visit Pakistan. He sent a message to the Pakistan Government that during his visit to Pakistan, he would like to meet his teacher Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig. The Pakistan Government, of course, was totally oblivious to the existence of a Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig and the matter was entrusted to the Intelligence Branch to find him, which they did.

On the day that Sukarno was to arrive, Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig was taken in an Intelligence Branch jeep to the airport and put in the line up of the dignataries on the tarmac with whom Sukarno would shake hands. As President Ayub led Sukarno to the dignataries, he had a formal handshake for everyone but when he came to Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig, he shook his hands and then bent down to touch his knees, apparently a mark of respect in Indonesia for one’s teacher.

Contrast this with today’s situation.

One Response to “Indonesia’s first President’s respect for Ahmadiyya missionary”

  1. December 26th, 2013 at 4:40 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    Visit of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Head to Indonesia.

    In recent years we have witnessed how Qadianis have been treated in Indonesia. On the other hand in month of September 2013 Head of LAM visited the same country. He visited different cities, publically. Given the hostility against Qadianis in Indonesia, i say with full confidence Qadiani Khalifa 5 Mirza Masroor Ahmad can NOT dare to visit that country. Why?? Because of Qadiani beliefs. Given the fact both factions of Ahmadiyya Movement of HMGA take roots from the same source, one can live freely and other is persecuted, speaks for itself. See HOPE Bulletin Nov-Dec 2013 for photographic evidence: