Hiqayat-e-Sidqo Wafa Episode 10 – Muhammad Ilyas Munir Sahib

Wherever the voice of truth has not reached,
thereto we will go and recite the Qur’an. I seek refuge with Allah from
Satan, the accursed. In the name of Allah,
the Gracious, the Merciful. Respected viewers, we present to you a new
episode of the programme Hiqayat-e-Sidqo Wafa from MTA Germany Studios. From the last few programmes,
we are joined in our studios by our guest Respected Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Munir Sahib. And we are discussing his journey of a prisoner in the way of Allah through a series of episodes to you,
our respected viewers. With the blessings of Allah, he and his fellow prisoners had this blessed
honour through a baseless accusation on them, which placed them in
imprisonment for a lengthy period of time. However, with admirable
steadfastness and blessings of Allah the Almighty, they were able to
endure their time there. And with the continuous and
fervent prayers of Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) and with the blessings of Allah Almighty,
they were freed at last. Respected viewers,
before we continue our programme, we would like to present
highlights from our previous programme. Let us view those. The court in which this trial was being held was dissolved; it ceased to exist. So, a Magistrate came to the office of a Deputy Superintendent and called us all one by one for our sentencing hearing. There were countless gestures of kindness shown by Huzoor (rh); he cared for us at each moment. All the letters sent by Huzoor (rh) were filled with love and benevolence, so much so that we felt that our pain during this time of tribulation when they were imprisoned, was nothing compared to the pain felt by our Master (rh). So, respected viewers, we will continue our conversation here
in the studios with Respected Maulana Sahib. Maulana, in the last programme,
we were speaking about your sentencing hearing, which was heard in a
court that really didn’t exist. Nonetheless, ‘we are accused of the death of him
who dies while trying to give us death by poison.’ So, the entire trial was something to that effect. Anyhow, when your status changed from a detainee
to a prisoner after hearing your sentence, what kind of changes were
observed in the prison at that time? Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah. I seek refuge with Allah from
Satan, the accursed. In the name of Allah,
the Gracious, the Merciful. As long as a person is a detainee in a jail, he is a considered a person to some extent. But as soon as he is labelled a prisoner, the jail
staff stop treating that person as a human. The person is made to wear
the specific prisoner uniform first. Then they are made to do physical labour. The prisoners on death row
are spared from the physical labour because they are locked up
in small cells for the full 24 hours except a short period of time
in the mornings and afternoons. They are let out of their cells in the
morning for some fresh air from outside and in the afternoons
to switch their cells around. And Pakistan jails are worse now but even then, the prisons held
more prisoners than their capacity. A cell approximately three by four
metres – or actually, probably smaller than that – would hold four or five people at a time, who had to be in that cell
the entire day and the entire night. And that cell includes the space
for drinking water as well as the toilet. The Sahiwal jail was
quite a dated building, so the toilets did not have
any kind of flushing system. Instead, when the inmates were let outside in the afternoons or evenings, a pile of dirt was created for each person to take some dirt from that to bring it back in the bags given to them. That was the system
for using the toilet there: when a person would finish going to the bathroom,
they would cover it by that pile of dirt. The janitors would then
clean that up the next morning. So, that was the Sahiwal jail situation. Everything was done in there: taking showers,
offering prayers, sleeping, eating, everything. Was a mat or anything given for sleeping? A 50 cm wide mat was given to each person,
which was called a ‘khadda’. So that fabric mat was
50cm wide and two meters long. We were also given one or two
blankets which we could put under the mat and then put the bedsheet on top of it. Over time, some prisoners would get
blankets of some kind through their relatives. So that was the bedding. No blanket was provided otherwise. So, you are saying that the cell would
include space for showering and using a toilet. Was privacy given through a
curtain or something of that sort? Well, if someone wanted to use that area,
they would just sort of warn everyone, and everyone else would
face the other way towards the wall. So, that was the entire system
to which you have to get used to. You have to go through it to learn it. That’s the situation we were in. And then we faced another
situation of being beaten up by other inmates. When the situation became more dangerous,
then we were all put into a single cell. What kind of physical violence
did you experience at that time then? Well, they would just make
an excuse and just beat us up. So, we had to go through this as well. So you weren’t even spared while being in jail? Yes. Well, for example, I used to
recite the Holy Qur’an loudly there, and all inmates knew that. So, one day another inmate came to me and requested that I teach him to recite
the Holy Qur’an, to which I happily agreed. So, he started meeting me during those few minutes
when everyone was let out in the afternoons; he would quickly put his
belongings in the new cell and come meet me. It was hardly a week or ten days later and he was enjoying learning the recitation of the Holy Qur’an, that he suddenly told me that he
won’t be able to come see me anymore. I asked him about the reason. He told me that the
others have boycotted me and have told me that if I don’t stop coming
to you, then they will do this or that to me. So, again those were the circumstances there that even a person reciting the
Holy Qur’an was not tolerable by them! That mentality was present there too, because it’s the same general people
who are on the outside that are also in prison, or sometimes it’s even more extreme
for the ones that are behind bars. So that’s what we faced there. And then with the Grace of Allah,
it was arranged for me to transfer to B-class, which is an upgraded class. In B-class, I got a more permanent cell
which were switched monthly instead of daily, or sometimes it would be after 15 days,
a week or two weeks depending on their mood. And compared to others,
we were allowed to stay outside for a bit longer, which I did benefit from. Huzoor (rh) had sent a letter
to me in the beginning sometime which stated that we would try our best
to reverse the decision – in the legal extent – but if Allah the Almighty wants to show
His munificence behind a veil of impiety for us, then we have accept that decision and leave this
world while praying for the victory of Islam. There was a message in this letter for us that we are not going to be like those that are
carried on a stretcher to their death sentence, but we will go in
the way Ghalib has said: “We are moving forward with a sense
of selflessness towards our executioner; “that two steps ahead of our
foot is our head in our shadow.” So, we were always considerate of
what Huzoor (rh) had said to us, that if such a time does come for us,
we should proceed with dignity – as Faiz has said, “The glory with which
one goes to their execution always remains.” In this sense, what I did was,
that the execution ground is behind our ward, where people were executed by hanging. Because we got some
free time to walk around, I explored the entire area
of the gallows and the system, such as how the lever is released,
how the platform opens; I went down the stairs and looked in the well,
where the executed person’s body hangs. The reason behind this was that if I had to
come here, I would be confident and prepared, and we would uphold the sanctity of
the words of our beloved Khalifatul Masih. So, we had this opportunity as well,
all praise belongs to Allah, and were as prepared as we
could be for any situation. And we prayed that may
Allah the Almighty be with us and help us through whatever
circumstances arise with dignity, and such dignity, which allows us to recall the sacrifices
of Hazrat Syed Abdul Latif Sahib Shaheed (ra), and which brings peace to the
soul of the Promised Messiah (as). MashAllah. Maulana Sahib, was there
any time that you offered yourself, and gave yourself to God, saying,
“I am here, if this is what You will”? From the very beginning, when we
were first brought to the police station, this is what kept me going until the end: I let myself go and told myself
that nothing is in my control; whatever treatment we get,
is between them and Allah. My only wish and prayer was that I should
not utter any words, or commit any acts which are against the sanctity of the Jama’at, or
which may tarnish the reputation of the Jama’at. Because sometimes, words can be uttered unintentionally as a result of extreme torture. This was my only prayer,
from the beginning till the end. After the court made its decision, there was no
question about an appeal – who would we appeal to? There is no room for an
appeal in cases like these. However, our lawyers found a way for an appeal – to submit an appeal for a re-appraisal, which
only consisted of appealing leniency or mercy. When the lawyers brought
the appeal to me to have it signed, I refused to sign on an appeal for mercy. They said that this
was not an appeal for mercy; rather, it was an appeal for a re-appraisal –
in other words, we are challenging this decision. This challenge, or appeal,
would be brought to General Zia-ul-Haq, who had the authority at the time. One year after the re-appraisal
appeal was submitted – perhaps the 15th or 16th of February 1987 – we received the response
that our appeal had been rejected. At that time, the jail staff moved
us from the execution ward to the area where prisoners
are kept in the last days of their lives. Is there an approximation of how
long prisoners are kept in that area? Yes, prisoners are kept
there for a maximum of seven days. After the seven days have passed,
they have a final meeting. We formally signed
on all of these things – a notice was brought to us which stated
that we were to be executed, and we signed it. When were brought to that area,
we were practically sequestered, with bare minimum clothing – we were
not even allowed to have elastic in our shalwars; our feet were chained; our hands were
handcuffed when were taken out of the cells; our pants were wrapped around our legs. Such was the condition. One officer was assigned
to guard you 24 hours a day, and keep an eye on you so that you
don’t do anything to get out of the execution. Anyhow, we were even sent to that area. When we were being moved to the area,
which was across the entire jail, everyone knew that we
would not be coming back. Allah the Almighty worked His Wonders
and we were taken out of those circumstances. As Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) had stated, “It was easier to get them out of a lion’s
hold than to get to out of this situation.” There is a Punjabi saying that, the one who helps one escape punishment
is more powerful that the one who punishes. During that period, there was a
time and situation, which I will never forget. When we had signed the last documents
– that we will have a final meeting, and seven days later, we would be executed – that
does not leave any opening for a worldly miracle. After they had left
and I was alone in my cell, while I was praying I envisioned
the sight of death in front of myself, and Allah the Almighty infused a strength
in me that drove away that sight from me, such as the one used to
scare and drive away an animal. After this, I felt very peaceful within myself. Very soon after this – about half an
hour later – our in-charge Head Warden came and opened Rana Sahib and my cell
doors and told us that we have to go back. To the previous ward? Yes, the previous execution ward that we were in. I asked him, what happened? He informed me that he did not know, but that
we had to go back; I have received instructions. We stayed less than 24 hours in a cell, which
we were told we would spend our last days in. Whatever the background or
reasoning had been behind that, our belief is that when Huzoor (rh)
received this news that night, not only would Huzoor (rh)
have stayed up all night but there would have
been a chaos in the world. Such prayers were made,
that they moved the heavens; as a result, Allah Almighty enabled us to leave
our cells before the afternoon the very next day. When we arrived
back in our previous ward, everyone was shocked to see us,
wondering, “They’ve come back?” To them, it seemed that we had
connections and networking of authorities. And they were correct. We had the connection of one who
no one else there had the connection to. Such were the instances. May Allah reward you. Respected Maulana Sahib, we have
reached the end of our programme today. We get so engrossed in these
narrations that we lose sense of time. Respected audience, the purpose of sharing these instances with you is that for us, and our future generations, that whether in times of ease or hardships,
happiness or difficulties, may Allah enable us to guard our faith. If we are ever faced with difficulties, may He
also enable us to remain steadfast in our faith. Respected Maulana Sahib,
May Allah reward you. Respected audience, we will join you next time
with another episode of this programme. Until then, we take your leave
from Germany Studios. Peace be upon you and the Mercy
of Allah and His Blessings. Wherever the voice of truth has not reached,
thereto we will go and recite the Qur’an.