I joined Talim-ul-Islam College (T.I.C.) Rabwah in 1962, received my B.Sc. in 1967, went to the University of the Punjab Lahore, received my Master’s in Mathematics and came back to teach at T.I.C. in 1970. In 1971, I was sent to London for higher education with a stipend from Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. I got my doctorate in 1974 and could not go back to teach at T.I.C., a lifelong regret. I would not go to any college at all, if it were not for the kindness and generosity of the then principal of T.I.C. Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (RahimahuLlah).
A friend of my family wrote to him saying good things about me and mentioning the possibility that I might not get higher education due to poverty. Hadhrat Saheb (rh) promptly wrote back something like: Send him over we will give him admission. That is what brought me toT.I.C. with Rs. 145 in my pocket. With the low fees and very low hostel charges, I was always able to live off the regular scholarship money. Low fees etc. do not make a college good, teachers do. T.I.C. did indeed have a good bunch of teachers. I studied from some of them such as: Professors Aftab Ahmad, Habibullah Khan (Marhoum), Ibrahim Nasir (Marhoum), Chaudhury Hameedullah, Rashid Ghani (Marhoum), Mubarak Ansari, Pervez Parwazi, Masoud Atif (Marhoum), Mirza Khurshid Ahmad, and Chaudury Sharif Khalid. These gentlemen gave me a good run for my 145 rupees during my formative years. Somewhere during my studies, at T.I.C., I got the lust for “what is new” and “what more can be said”, and got the notion of playing around with the problem and giving a Mathematical/logical proof. Blended with my independent nature these gifts still serve me well. Of course I also learned to say what I thought was right, without any qualms about me being the small man. The deeply religious atmosphere also helped shape my thinking. I benefited from personal acquaintance with some of my teachers. Professor Chaudhury Muhammad Ali was the Warden of Fazle-Omer Hostel and in more than one ways my mentor. Instead of saying “do this, don’t do that” he would come up with an example or an anecdote. Professor Qazi Muhammad Aslam, who became the principal of T.I.C. after Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (rh) was elected Khalifatul-Masih, indirectly trained me on analyzing statements. And Professor Mirza Anas Ahmad gave me the lust for logic. Let me put it this way, with these three around, my questions would get answered amply and I had plenty of questions. I was an unruly boy who would rather read from the books than come to class and Professor Rashid Ghani (Marhoum) would have me brought from my room if there was something important happening in the class or at the college. Professor Chaudhury Hameed Ahmad (Hameedi Saheb, we called him then) mentored me well when I was one of the editors of the English section of Al- Manar. I am sure that most of my English contributions to Al-Manar were corrected or commented on by him. Right after my M. Sc. I taught Physics under the direction of Professor Naseer Ahmad Khan. I had a fresh Masters in Pure Mathematics. So, I had to work very hard to keep my head above water. Professor Naseer Khan was a source of help. His energy and his zeal for the task at hand have always served as beacons of light for me. In addition I had my guardian angel Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, who seemed to have a high opinion of me for some reason. His prayers seem to be with me even now. Indeed there were others who taught and trained me, such as Professor Abdul Majeed of the University of the Punjab, Professor Lal Muhammad Chawla (Marhoum) of Govt. College Lahore and Professor Paul Cohn of the University of London. They built upon what I had from T.I.C. After completing my education I have taught at more universities than my fair share but I never found the atmosphere like T.I.C. Finally, the college has made me and thousands more like me who we are. Based on what I know now, learning is a form of worship. It is learning that in the end leads one to say: Lord Thou hast not created this universe in vain (from verse192 of Al-Imran). Colleges like T.I.C. of my time, if there are any, are more than just seats of learning. They are places of worship that also produce worshippers who think and reach the conclusions mentioned in the Quran. We ought to show as much zeal in building and maintaining such colleges as we do in building mosques.