The following account is taken from the Friday Sermon of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (May Allah be his helper) delievered on 21 October 2016. (Summarised and translated by Alislam)
Bashir Ahmad Rafiq Khan Sahib was an old servant of the Jamaat and was also a Mubaligh. He was appointed on various administrative positions in the Jamaat.
He got his BA from Punjab University and then completed his degree of Jamiatul Mubashereen from Jamia Ahmadiyya Rabwah in 1958. He belongs to a longstanding Ahmadi Family. His mother was Fatima Bibi Sahiba, who was the eldest daughter of the companion of the Promised Messiah (as), Muhammad Ilyas Khan Sahib (ra). His father’s name was Danishmand Khan Shahib who was recipient of true dreams and spiritual experiences. He was born around 1890. Bashir Ahmad Rafiq Khan Sahib was a born Ahmadi. His father accepted Ahmadiyyat in 1921, upon which the people of his village had also boycotted him. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rm) said to Bashir Ahmad Rafiq Sahib in a letter that, “Your letters always refresh the memory of your pious father, and make me incline towards praying for him. He was free of all variations between what he said and what he did, and was the personification of a truthful and sincere man.” This characteristic is the emblem of a true believer. He further says, “I had a deep connection with him and I still have it and it is always expressed through prayers for him.” May Allah cover him with His Mercy and make his entire family his real heirs.
In 1945, Khan Sahib was admitted into Taleemul Islam High School, Qadian. He was fourteen at that time. In those days, once in a Friday Sermon, Hazrar Khalifatul Masih II (ra) called young men to devote their lives in the service of Islam. Right after Friday Prayers, several young men offered themselves for devotion. Among those blessed young men was Bashir Rafiq Sahib as well. After that, since the system of Jamaat was till in nascent stages, he received a personal letter from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) saying that his Waqf has been accepted.
He continued his education in Qadian. After completing his matriculation or around partition time he went back to his ancestral village. When he gained college admission he says that one day he received a letter from Private Secretary Sahib stating that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) is inquiring about a Pathan student who had signed up for Waqf in Qadian in around 1945, but he doesn’t remember his name. The record had been lost because of Partition. At this, Khalifatil Masih II(ra), directed him to immediately report and get admission in Talimul Islam College Lahore and complete his Bachelors of Arts (BA). This is the time when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III (sa) was the principal of TI College.
Hazrat Khaifatul Masih II (ra) directed him to get admission in Jamia Ahmadiyya to complete his degree of Shahid because he intended to send him in the field of Tabligh. He says that our class of Jamia had the unique honor that Hazrat Khaifatul Masih II (ra) would visit us and guide us in how to be skilled in various subjects. Hazrat Khaifatul Masih II (ra) also drew our attention towards the need that every Murrabi should have his own library and should get in the habit of buying books. And this is something that every Murrabi should always keep in mind. Now, there are several Jamias in the whole world and there are numerous Murrabis, they all should remember this. A few days ago, there was a meeting of Murrabiyan in London, in which I also directed them to build their own libraries. They shouldn’t solely rely on Jama’at libraries.
After getting the Shahid Degree from Jamiatul Mubashereen, he reported to Wakalat Tabshir. Wakilul Tabshir was Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, who took me to Hazrat Khaifatul Masih II (ra). He said that Bashir Rafiq Khan Sahib should be sent to England. And when the time came, Wakilut Tabshir Sahib again took me to Hazrat Khaifatul Masih II (ra) who dictated detailed guiding points, prayed for me, embraced me and bid me farewell.
In 1959, he left for London where he started his services as Deputy Imam of the Fazl Mosque.
Service in the UK
In 1964, Chaudhry Rehmat Khan Sahib went back to Pakistan, owing to his illness. Therefore, Bashir Rafiq Sahib was appointed Imam Masjid Fazl. In 1960, Bashir Rafiq Sahib initiated an English periodical named Muslim Herald which consisted of 10 pages initially. He himself was its editor and writer. In 1962, upon the recommendation of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra), he initiated Akhbare Ahmadiyya [Newspaper]. It was a bi-monthly paper. He says that he was its founder and stayed its editor for a long time. He would also write articles for it since he himself was a scholarly man. He also had the honor of being the editor of The Review of Religions, which was founded by the Promised Messiah (as) himself.
From 1967 to 1982, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih the III (rm) visited Europe eight time. Of the eight tours, Bashir Ahmad Rafiq Sahib was present in seven of them. In two of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III (rm)’s tours, he had the honor of serving as Huzoor’s Private Secretary. In 1970 he went back to Pakistan and became Private Secretary of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III (rm). In 1971, he went back to London and was reinstated as the Imam of the Fazl Mosque. In 1976, he had the honor of accompanying Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III (rm) as his Private Secretary in his tours of Canada and America. In May 1978, Huzoor visited London for the International Kasre Saleeb (Breaking of the Cross) Conference. In order to complete the project, members of the UK Jamaat, the committee of the conference, and Majlis-e-Aamila UK worked day and night and set an excellent example of team work. It was all done under the administration of Bashir Ahmad Rafiq Sahib.
From 1964 to 1970 and then from 1971 to 1979, he remained Imam Masjid Fazl London. From 1961-1979, he served as the founding editor of the Muslim Herald. He served as Private Secretary of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III (rm) from 1970-1971. Then in November 1985, he was appointed as Wakilul Deewan, Tehrike Jadid and served until 1987. From 1982-1985, he served as Wakilul Tasnif in Rabwah. He became Additional Wakilul Tasnif Rabwah from 1983-84. And then he served as Additional Wakilul Tasnif London, from 1987-1997. He served as Editor Review of Religions from 1983-1985. He was Chairman of the Board of Editors for The Review of Religions from 1988-1995. He was a member of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Pakistan from 1971-1985, a member of the Ufta Committee, 1971-1973, and a member of the Qaza Board from 1984-1987.
He also had the opportunity of working in some worldly positions. For example, he was a member and vice president of the Wandsworth Rotary club. He was also appointed as President of the Rotary Club. In 1968, upon the order of the President of Liberia, Mr. Tubman, he was invited as a state guest. He was appointed as Liberia’s honorary chief.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (May Allah be his helper) concluded the account of Maulana Bashir Rafiq Khan Sahib with the following:
By the Grace of Allah, he lived life to its fullest. He was extremely loyal to Khilafat. He was a heart patient. He had heart surgery too and at one point the condition of hopelessness developed. However, Allah Almighty gave him new life and he became better. He was extremely weak because of this medical condition, but he would regularly not only write letters to me in which he would express his sincerity and loyalty to Khilafat, but would also try to attend all those events where I would be expected to attend. Also, with the help of a walker he would try to attend Jumma prayers. May Allah treat him with forgiveness and exalt his status. May Allah Almighty also enable his children to remain connected with the Jamaat with sincerity and faithfulness and may they follow his footsteps. Amin.